Collaborations

2014-May-19, Monday 07:19 pm
chebe: (Default)
The theme for this year does very much seem to be collaborations. So many talented, hard-working, fascinating people with great ideas to work with! It hurts to not be able to do everything. But sometimes, even if I can't go somewhere my projects find their way regardless.

First [twitter.com profile] partfusion and [twitter.com profile] Jeffrey_Roe wandered off to MakerFaireUK with a couple. But then [twitter.com profile] partfusion absconded, with the glove I was working on at Artek, to MakerFaireBayArea(!). It's more traveled than I am at this point. Speaking of, [twitter.com profile] partfusion has started his own collaboration, resulting in some beautiful garments. I mean, just look at that RGB crinoline! I'm in serious want.

In the meantime I'm at home, working hard on other projects. I'm currently working with Niki Collier, an amazing fibre artist and maker. We're working on a series of interactive jewellery pieces, hopefully for Dublin Maker at the end of July. We're coming to the end of our first prototype of the first piece. (The idea of finished pieces is rather a strange one to me, who's lucky to finish a single prototype. It's an interesting experience!)

Niki has been posting updates on the facebook page (warning; awkward photos of me trying not to pose). The first piece is inspired by an old Irish practice I've never actually heard of before. Apparently, some people would leave kelp out to dry, and leave it there. As the air got more humid the kelp would rehydrate, giving a visual warning that it was going to rain. Of course, carrying around kelp isn't conducive to modern living, but wouldn't a heads-up that it was about to rain be very useful?

Cue a felted neck-piece to resemble kelp, a bunch of LEDs, and a humidity sensor.

Early prototype days; some felted leaves incorporating LEDs, and a whole mess of crocodile leads

Early prototype; viva la crocodile leads!
Photo by chebe




Prototype with LEDs mostly soldered into felt tube to be worn around the neck, and other components still connected with crocodile leads

More recent prototype; LEDs mostly connected up, other components still connected with crocodile leads
Photo by chebe



I was hoping to use the Gemma for this, and I have videographic proof that it did work during the early prototypes. But something has gone wrong in the meantime. Worst scenario we'll use the Flora, but I'm hoping to figure out what the problem is.

We're using a cheap-and-cheerful humidity sensor (with built in temperature sensor). Getting it working was extremely easy, once I figured out that I needed this library, and that the samples included show you how to do everything. Really great library!

So now I'm trying to figure out the problem with the Gemma, and starting to look into the next piece. This collaboration thing is turning out to be a lot of fun.

Artek Circle

2014-May-11, Sunday 03:41 pm
chebe: (BeautyQueen)
This weekend I've been at Artek Circle. This has been an incredibly fun, and inspiring, event bringing together artists, scientists, engineers, and even philosophers! For a day and a half we have worked together on projects. It's been surprising how much has been achieved.

I kind of floated around, helping out with some debugging, busying myself with finishing up an RGB gauntlet (more details to come), and being a subject for some eeg experiments. Mostly it involved watching cat videos. For Science!

Me, holding up right arm with RGB gauntlet lit up in blue

Me, playing with RGB gauntlet
Photo by CreativeDynamix



The eeg project was Sinead's idea. A bunch of eager people gathered round, and magic happened. My involvement mostly involved me wearing one of the eeg sensors (as seen here) while watching cat videos. We were using the TrueSense Exploration Kit which is available for the really reasonable price of US$48. The cat videos was inspired by The Sympsychograph.

Want to hear the first pass of what my brain sounds like on cats? Later in the evening we retired to the hackerspace, and the recording of my brain on cats got printed on the 3D printer. This is my very own Cartesian Portrait.

A 3D print of the recording of my brain watching cat videos

My brain on cats, 3D printed
Photo by chebe



Such antics can lead to unexpected side effects however. Like having to pose for many photos. I'll keep you updated as the project evolves.

*edit*
Sinead's take on the weekend.
And I just heard my cat brain mapped onto Love Cats!
chebe: (Purple - DanceLikeNooneisWatching)
I've taken to playing a few games recently. Others seem keen to encourage this behaviour. But look at this controller, how plain, how uninteresting.

Regular white and grey xbox 360 controller

Before; xbox 360 controller
Photo by chebe



What I want is something more unusual, something more purple, and chrometastic. The closest I can get is in kit form. *cue montage music*

Some disassembly pics )

Controller with new cover in place

After; new case and buttons in place
Photo by chebe



There, I'll be gaming in style now.
chebe: (StepIntoTheLight)
Sorry it's been so quiet around here, things have been hectic in the analogue world. And to top it all off I'm running a series of four workshops on the LilyPad in TOG, starting Thursday. More hours in each day would come in handy right about now.

But, I haven't been idle. Remember way back when I made a simple accelerometer glove? Well, I'm working on a more elaborate matching pair now. PartFusion, a guy from the hackerspace, makes some really intense RGB daisy-chainable, sewable, LEDs. Armed with these, Adafruit's NeoPixel library, a couple of accelerometers, LilyPad Simple boards, and LiPo batteries, I had the fixings of something strong enough to help land planes.

I used some material from a free tshirt I acquired at some point, made a couple of armwarmers/gauntlets, with inside lining/pouch for the LilyPad Simple board itself. Some metal snaps and lots of conductive thread sewing later I've one strip done. It's still a work in progress, but I brought them along to one of the CoderDojo sessions, and people seemed to like them. I have a deadline for them, a concert I have tickets for, so hopefully they'll get finished soon.

Few photos )
chebe: (ThoughtFractal)
Last we looked in on this project I'd just added in the adapter for the keypad and a battery holder. Since then a couple of things happened.

One; in the two-and-a-half years since starting this project, the silver on the conductive thread has started to corrode. This manifested first as the programmed time delays no longer seeming to work right, and then with an un-even light disruption across the LED grid (this happens anyway, but wasn't noticeable before this). So I rather carefully went over every single trace of conductive thread with a thin paintbrush and a bottle of fray-stop glue. Hopefully it will slow down further corrosion.

Two; I got my hands on a IR-detector unit, and wanted to include it in the top (as talked about in the Dublin Maker Faire post). To make this possible the keypad-adapter would have to double up as an ir-adapter. But this required a change of circuit layout.

The keypad has five wires; 3 output, 1 led, 1 ground. The ir-detector has four wires; 1 output, 1 led, 1 ground, 1 power. The adapter has five slots. But two of them are pins 0 and 1 (Rx & Tx) and I had trouble getting them to work consistently. So to fit everything in I decided to move the power and ground lines out to their own adapter. But where was I to find a two-pin breakout board? They come in large, small (used for the existing adapter), and that's it. *brainwave* I remembered a set of empty LED boards I hadn't gotten around to using.



And sure enough, two separate connections, just add headers! I pulled out the existing stitching and stitched the new layout in. The power lines are actually run along the back in channels of bias-binding for insulation because the whole thing is so crowded at this point.



Turned it on, fixed up the code (new pin numbers), adjusted the timing on the patterns, and tried my hand at interrupt coding. However, before I could finish it up, my top needed to go off with [twitter.com profile] Jeffrey_Roe and [twitter.com profile] PartFusion to NY MakerFaire to represent tog, so development of new features was promptly abandoned, to be continued once it returns. (Although, I hear it was a bit wet, so I expect my top probably stayed in somewhere nice and dry.) *edit* Spot the LED top. But now I have a definite list of things that need doing, and then it will actually be finished!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4.a
chebe: (StarryNight)
Take one Lilypad LED-matrix top (you thought I'd forgotten, hadn't you?), add one SparkFun Wearable Keypad, and voila! You get one fun interactive top!

The devil's in the details )

It's all controlled by the push-button. Initially all LEDs are off.
- Push once; all LEDs are on.
- Push twice; you get the random LED twinkle pattern.
- Push thrice; you get into keypad controllable mode (denoted by the keypad lighting up). You press the centre SparkFun-logo button to clear the board and pick a random starting LED. Then you can use the four directions to draw in lights.
- If you press the push-button a fourth time, you stay in the keypad mode, but the timing changes and the pattern becomes a chase-sequence.
- Pressing the push-button again brings you back to the beginning, with all LEDs off. (But so long as you don't turn off the battery, your pattern is still kept in memory.) Here, have a look.



If you happen to be at Darklight next weekend, come find the tog guys, and you can have a go yourself :)

Sewing Forward

2011-Jan-11, Tuesday 01:26 am
chebe: (Spools of thread)
I don't like making predictions as to what I'm going to do for the entire year. For one, I'm too often swayed by whim, doing what I want instead of what I should. For two, I'm no good at it, failing to take into consideration many, many factors. So instead I'm going to share with you my to-do list for the first half of this year.

1. Finish the knit tunic. Kwik Sew 3496, view A.
Status: front and back joined together, but is way too large, need to make smaller. Done.

2. Complete the sew-along, run by Gertie. Colette Crepe 1013, view 2.
Status: cut out the underlining, still trying to find a suitable fashion fabric. Done.

3. A light summery top, so-called BoHo Peasant top, 1043 by Hot Patterns.
Status: still locating materials.

4. Colette cami, slip, bralette, and knickers. Cinnamon 1012 and Nutmeg 1011. I'm going to do up the cami with the French knickers, the bralette with the tap pants, and the slip by itself.
Status: going to make them separately. First up, the knickers.

5. Bloomers, simply because the word amuses me. One pair, polka dot bloomers, from 'Sweet Nothings', and another pair, the Madeleine mini bloomers, from Colette.
Status: still locating materials.

6. Stretch lace projects from 'Sweet Nothings'. Including; venus tanga, narcissus, sugarberry, sassafras. All but the last are knickers.
Status: preparing materials, some dyeing required.

7. Panties, to continue the trend. Kwik Sew 2100.
Status: 1st pair made. And subsequent pairs need to be made smaller.

8. And for something completely different; Negroni Men's shirt, Colette 1014, view 2.
Status: still locating materials. This is more involved than the others, likely to be left to last.


Phew. Hmm... it will probably take longer than six months now that I look at it. Anyone got any sewing/crafting plans of their own?
chebe: (LanternReflect)
I've gone a bit mad, searching for, buying, and longing for all the satin and lace I can find. This is unusual for me as I tend to avoid embellishment as much as possible, and find satin beautiful but impractical.

It has a lot to do with my now pathological desire to make myself underwear that not only fits, but is comfortable. I've been secretly buying up patterns, modern and vintage, finding suppliers, and gathering books. It has been a very slow process, but soon I'll be cutting my first piece of fabric, and am getting very excited. (Can you tell?)

'You haven't mentioned this before' )

It is from these starting points that I will be discovering how to make underwear. I hope to share some of my journey with you (though behind cuts, so if this entire topic embarrasses you don't worry). Do you agree, or disagree? Do you have pointers, tips, suggestions, requests? Are you on a similar quest?

AudioTee

2010-Aug-03, Tuesday 08:20 pm
chebe: (OnTheVergeOfSomethingWonderful)
I like listening to music. I find when navigating the city and its public transport that having portable music is a must. However, when you're subjected to very changeable weather there are often problems with trailing wires, bag straps, jumpers, coats, buttons, zips, and passing umbrellas. Not to mention having wires catch on the most awkward of things even in fine weather. (Which is particularly painful when wearing those wrap-ear headphones.) Every one of my portable CD-players smashed to the ground because of this, and smaller MP3-players have been known to go flying through the air. Wouldn't it be great, I thought to myself, if I could wear my headphones as easily as I wear a tshirt. *grin*

- Headphones break all the time, at one stage I was buying a new pair every two weeks. And sometimes you just want something different. So, I want to make my headphones replaceable, just something I plug into my tshirt. This requires a female stereo audio jack. Okay, but how am I going to attach it to my tshirt? Aha! Finally I've found a use for the Lilypad mini protoboards!
Female audio jack construction... )


- Now, you have your jack to plug your headphones into. I'm going to put this on my shoulder, to keep the wires away from my body, where they have the habit of getting caught on things. But my music player will be somewhere around my hip/waist, in a pocket or bag. Okay, so I need to connect the two together, and I don't want wires... Ah, conductive thread! So, I came up with a design to suit having three trails of conductive thread (sleeve, ring, tip) across my tshirt.
T-shirt design... )


- Okay, this last bit could have been done with conductive thread as well, but I reckon this part will be subjected to a lot of wear-and-tear, and wire comes pre-insulated, which makes our life easier (the small insides of the male audio jack is very likely to result in shorts). And, as long as it's removable the rest should still be washable. This bit, being the plug into our music player.
Male audio jack construction... )


- Done. Now plug in music player, and headphones. And enjoy!
Final product. )


You may want to add some extra things, like an inside pocket to hold your music player if it's small, or a loop of fabric to keep the wires from annoying you. But overall I'm loving this! It's comfortable, much less likely to catch on anything, and there's only a slight drop in volume level. Plus I think it's pretty cool to have audio waves carried through silver-plated thread across your body!
chebe: (Default)
Remember part 1, with the 3x3 LED matrix? That was practice, for this, a 7x7 matrix, on a functional, wearable, piece of clothing.

Lots of text, pictures, and a couple of videos. )
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