I wanted to try out a few techniques on a smaller scale;

1. feasibility of the neopixel circuit layout,
2. using conductive thread as traces,
3. light transmission through different fabrics.

And so I ended up with the slightly silly light-up bujo cover/ portable night light.

Steps )

Much more impressive in a dark room. Coded using FastLED library, OceanColors_p palette, taken from this tutorial.

Cover, front, in dark room
Photo by chebegeek

1. The circuit layout does work well. But, there is still a looseness to the attachment points (on the boards) that could be improved.
2. I didn't treat the edges of the conductive fabric, and although it frayed very little it did still fray. Treating the edges of the strips would help. I don't think using the conductive fabric over conductive thread was any faster, but it was less fiddly.
3. Diffusion of the neopixels is best achieved through distance from the LEDs and the covering fabric, so designs enforcing this distance would be better.
Bear with me, this is going to be a long post.

This Saturday just gone, July 14th, was Dublin's first Mini Maker Faire! It was held in the Science Gallery and on the Physics Lawn of Trinity College. I was there as a part of TOG, the Dublin maker/hacker-space. It was a fantastic day. So many people showed up who already knew a lot and came up with interesting questions and ideas. Some people were just wandering through Trinity like they do every weekend and were a little confounded to find us there. Yet others showed up wearing ESOF lanyards! I'm sad I didn't get to see much of the other makers or exhibits, things were just so hectic! It certainly seemed like everyone was having a good time.

Maker Faire )

TOG's new tshirt )


Arduino IR receiver )

LED matrix top )

Constellation Quilts )

Well, I fairly collapsed with exhaustion about 4pm (missing the after-party and everything), but up until that point it was a great day and I'm already looking forward to next year!
This project came about basically as culmination of lots of different techniques I wanted to try out;

1; sewing on really slippery, delicate fabrics
2; using the satin-stitch on the sewing machine to couch conductive thread, as seen in the Sparkle-TuTu instructable
3; determining some method/sensor for detecting movement
4; trying out the Aniomagic LED-sequins that had just arrived
5; playing with my new glow-in-the-dark thread
6; utilising an old dreamcatcher that improper storage managed to render into a simple ring
7; trying a new battery holder for the larger 24.5mm rechargeable coin cells

Insomuch as I managed these objectives it was a success. However, the end product doesn't work as I'd hoped, so a final product is further down the line.

I present to you the first prototype of 'Starry Light'. The concept; a night-time wind-chime, that instead of making sounds when moved by the wind, lights up some LEDs.

Construction details and pics )
It's the first of October! Finally, my favourite month begins, and I can start throwing Hallowe'en things at you! *grin* I like this one, it's great when you're stuck for ideas, but still want something a little special. Just add LEDs! This is the simplest, most basic way to add LEDs with a soft circuit. The bigger circuits I do are just expansions of this one.

Equipment )

Prepare the LED )

Turn the elastic into a battery holder )

Power it up! )
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!
Was looking around the internet for LED jewelery, you know, to get inspired. Most of the tutorials out there are for fabric cuff bracelets. Most of the products available to buy are bracelets and necklaces. So, curiosity overtook me and I tried my hand at making a necklace.

What I tried... )
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. )
To attach an LED to your clothes you need to think about how you're going to do the wiring. If it's the old-fashioned wires and heat-shrink, you're set. If you're thinking conductive thread, then your LEDs will need something the thread can attach to.

Talk and pictures of LEDs, plus surface mount LED tutorial )
I can't help it, I think LEDs are pretty. So what could be better than a tshirt with 49 of them? Well, there's a lot to figure out before I get that far. Let's start with a more reasonable number, say 9, that's a 3x3 matrix. Yes, that's doable. But let's not make it too easy, let's try using the sewing machine, and user input. Okay, ready?

Details, pics, and vid. )

Things I Learned:
1. That to use 4-ply conductive thread in a sewing machine it needs to be in the bobbin.

2. That your choice of fabric is very important. If it is thin/light you need to skip a couple of stitches at the point where two traces cross, to prevent possible shorting.

3. That I can use user input through the computer to affect Arduinos through Serial.read().
Walking down the street one day, sinuses nearly frozen solid, I happened across a cheap, and warm looking hat. Who was I to be picky about style? Once my brain had thawed I was struck by inspiration! So I modded the hat, based upon the Rock Star Headphones from 'Fashioning Technology' (to be seen on the cover). (Hmm, there's a community too, very, very interesting...) Here's my tale...

A few pictures )

I do realise that is the very short version, so if you want me to explain at a regular pace any particular step or technique, in this or any other post, just let me know and I'll gladly oblige.

In conclusion, this was fun. My first project that I really had to figure out the details for myself, and actually ended up a finished, working piece. Next up, back to the Lilypad Arduino I reckon. But I'm not telling what just yet.