In today’s news clips we learn about a wearables project that knits your brainwaves, a wearables inspired product for your car, and that wearables retailers, SparkFun and Adafruit plan to discuss initiatives that help kids to learn electronics at an early age.
This Is Your Brain On Bach: Knitic’s Brainwaves Wearables
…Knitic is the collaborative project of artistic duo Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet, a pair who have existed in the fine line between art and tech since 2009. Their Arduino-hacked knitting machine records brain states via an EEG headset to be converted into a knitting pattern for a scarf. The wearer’s activity measurements of level of relaxation, excitement and cognitive load while listening to Bach’s “Goldberg Variations.” The resulting data yields a stiching pattern, which—in addition to being a great garment for chillier climates—also captures visually the unique act of listening. The team chose to bypass the electronic control of the Brother brand 930 knitting machine models opting for real-time control and modification of patterns by putting in their own arduino control system.
Dash Is Like A “Fitbit” For Your Car
Dash Labs … is developing an on-board diagnostic reader that plugs into a car’s port (usually under the steering wheel); it can then track the car’s performance in real-time. The device, which connects to a smartphone app, can detect how many times you are too hard on the brakes, and when you’re speeding. It can even tell if the airbag has been deployed, after which it automatically notifies a pre-programmed emergency contact…Dash is still in beta, and has been tested on 300 different car models in the U.S., Canada, France and elsewhere, collecting some 15 million data points from drivers… The product showed its potential by already detecting problems with some drivers’ engines before the engine light went on.
The Engadget Show 44: Education with Google, OPLC, Code.org, LeapFrong, SparkFun, Adafruit And More
It’s time to rethink the way our children learn. It’s all a bit overwhelming, attempting to restructure the age-old classroom model, particularly in a system as bogged down in bureaucratic red tape as education. This month, however, we packed up our things and toured the country to find out how educational institutions are adopting new models to help reinvent the learning process — rather than sitting idly by, waiting for the system to change around them. Naturally, technology is playing a huge role in that shift, moving from models of teaching to models of learning, where students can explore, express themselves and learn at their own speed.
In today’s news clips we learn about Mary Meeker’s wearables predictions, the glove phone, Sony and Arduino’s workshop, Adafruit’s DIY Citi Smart Bike Helmet, more light up shoes, and a wearables dog collar.
Mary Meeker Peers Into The Future Of Mobile, Wearables, and Facebook
New York Times
RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. — Mary Meeker, the Internet analyst, has become something of a legend in the tech world for her annual Internet Trends report…Here are some major takeaways from her report: …
Wearables, Sharables, Drivables, Flyables
The last few decades were about the rise of the personal computer and the smartphone. The next few decades will be about wearable computing, like Google glass and fitness tracking bracelets, as well as new gadget categories like drones and smarter cars. That, in turn, will drive the personal data revolution.
Talk To The Hand: No, Really, It’s A Glove Phone
…Sean Miles of Designworks in the U.K. decided that the true joy of wearable tech was a driving glove that you can talk into…He listens to his thumb. He talks into his little finger…Sadly, this is not a commercial project. The Brits have often found commerce a touch beneath them…He used a Bluetooth device, and the principles are as simple as the glove itself: the earpiece is in the thumb, the speaker is in the little finger.
Open SmartWatch Project: Arduino Publishes Tool Chain (Alpha)
Last week we told you about the Open SmartWatch Project, and during the weekend Arduino and Sony arranged a workshop with the aim to come up with a proof of concept for how SmartWatch could be setup to work in an Arduino environment. The Arduino folks have since then continued to work hard, and they have now published a GitHub project that includes an alpha version of a complete tool chain, including the Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment). This will allow developers to innovate with SmartWatch on top of Arduino’s toolchain.
Adafruit Smart Helmet Guides Bike Riders With Arduino-Based Light Shows (Video)
Bike sharing systems like New York’s Citi Bike may be taking off, but it’s doubtful that many participants can find every station without checking a map. Thankfully, Adafruit has unveiled a smart helmet project that could help at least a few of those riders get to their destinations while keeping their eyes on the road.
Viral Style: Light Up Trainers And Invisibility Cloaks
the creators project
The end of the academic year…mark[s]end of year and graduate shows for arts and fashion faculties. We’ve cast our eyes over this year’s selection and frankly we’ve been mesmerised by these light-up trainers from Central Saint Martins graduate Samuel Yang ever since…If you’re someone who’s super into organising and documenting your life via tech…then why not get your pet in on the act too? Ridogulous Labs have developed a collar that combines with a smartphone app to keep track of your dog’s diet, activities, location, and obedience training—right down to its, er, social calendar. There’s even a voice command option, as well as interactive games to work on its cognitive ability…!
We have been on extended blog-vacation. Now we’re back!
The Sparkfun product blog just posted the Seeduino Film board, a small package, modular Arduino that has a flexible circuit connection between each of the units. The base unit has three modules, a mainboard, housing the chip, serial connection and analog ports; a breakout for digital ports and additional I2C port; and nicely enough a li-po charger breakout. This addition makes it the same price as a comparable Lilypad with charger.
The flexible connectors and small size mean that this can be used for wearable applications but it can also be paired with headers and put on a breadboard as a normal prototyping device.
For over a year now we have been lucky owners of Android OS enabled phones. Recently, Google has released the Android Scripting Environment, which allows users to write simple code (even on the phone) that uses many of the powerful Andorid API classes.
This new application brings Android features to the masses and also allows for rapid prototyping and on-the-fly development. As an added bonus, the phones has it’s own sensors (compass, accelerometer, etc.) and screen output, as well as an all-important connection to the internet, which can be used to push or pull data or even advanced features like text-to-speech.
We first learned of the Android Scripting Environment through CellBots, a project that uses ASE and Arduino to make robots that use the phone’s sensors along with the sensors connected to the Arduino for navigation and remote control.
This is an interesting area for wearable technology because 3g phones are gaining market share. Scripting languages for phones that interact with electronics essentially give us ultra cheap computers – more powerful than a cheap microprocessor alone. We can and should use the phone to cut back on the power and size costs of features like GPS location, internet connectivity and heavy duty processing.
We found the Email Counting T-shirt by Chris and Madeliene Ball through Talk2myShirt and this is a perfect example of using ASE and Arduino. The shirt uses a ridiculously simple python script to access the Gmail RSS feed and transmit the count data through serial to the Lilypad. Additionally, this is also a good use of screenprinting and wearables.
Read more info after the jump.
Yes, Apple has crossed over and is looking far into the future with new Senior Prototype Engineer, Richard DeVaul on the payroll. After an angry fist shaking session, we took a step back and examined the situation. While DeVaul has taken our dream path straight to Jobs (ha…a job with Jobs), us Mom-and-Pop wearable shops needn’t fear the Walmart-ing of our companies and brands. This, ladies and gentlemen, could mean an industry boom for wearables.
Wearables, like every other industry, has it’s layers. There are the couture designers trying to make you Gaga-ed out, the Ipod wearable helping people-on-the-go move to a beat, the rave-scene wearable, the kitschy wearables products for all wearbles geeks, the DIY wearable upgrade to entertain the wearbles tinkerers, the biometrics wearables used in military and medicine, practical wearables for mass use and the home based wearables. Apple’s position in the industry? Considering the I-everything (Ipod, Iphone etc.) craze and DeVaul’s background, we’re in for a long ride of very cool, user friendly wearables. But remember, this is one section of a growing industry!
Our advice: stay positive, stay informed, keep innovating because the industry was just put on the map in big way.
We were recently able to get some work done figuring out the Zilog ePIR sensor and learning more about the hardware and software challenges of the Mona Lisa following eye EL project.
In our a breadboard setup, all we needed was our Arduino Barebones Board , the Zilog sensor and a necessary resistor. As far as wiring goes, this was a pretty basic build.
There are two ways to interact with the sensor. The Hardware Interface Mode gives a very direct connection to the sensors and doesn’t use the single board computer (SBC) to do any special analysis. All tuning parameters are set by input voltages.
They say that the Mona Lisa’s eyes fix on the observer at any angle as if by magic. Like the famous da Vinci eyes, the desire to make this into a wearable piece has followed us obsessively for a year now. We want to reproduce this magic using El panels, sensors and Arduino.
The ultimate plan is to have a shirt with motion detection input, an EL-panel array output and a kickass design that will use motion detection software to trigger the EL eyes to point in the direction of the last movement.
While we’re still a bit down on Sparkfun after getting stiffed on free day, they made a comeback in our hearts with this Zilog PIR (passive infrared – if you forgot) sensor with onboard processing chip.
This onboard chip has a serial interface that sends, amongst other things, direction data of the object being tracked. We’re still looking at the datasheets but it looks like this 5/8″ x 1″ sensor will provide the size and functionality we need to make this design work as a wearable piece.
We want to give a quick nodd to Calvin Harris’ Humantesizer. We saw links to this on IheartSwitch and talk2myshirt but it wasn’t until we saw it the next day on DailyMotion that we had to mention this cool project.
Calvin, a musician from across the pond, worked with his electronics friends and some bathing suit beauties to make an orchestra using conductive paint and conductive pads connected to Arduinos. This is right up our shaded alley of coolness.
For a bit of a technical explanation, the pads on the floor are painted with conductive materials and connected to Arduinos as input switches. The people are “wired” with body-safe conductive paint from Bafe Condutive. The wire runs from a foot to a hand on either side, making each person able to switch two different devices at a time.
When a person stands on a pad and touches painted hands with a person on another pad, a circuit completes and the Arduino sends signals to Max/MSP, which is a program that can connect real-world circuits to music synthesizer programs.
We didn’t know about conductive paint until the Berkeley workshop but now we’re looking into making some controlled thermochromic designs using conductive paint on either side of a semi-conductive layer. We’re still a bit new to the concept but screen printing circuits is probably much easier than sewing.
We hope to see more human orchestras in the future. If you have footage, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
So friends, be warned. When the next youtube party has lost it’s kick, we will be whipping out the conductive paint and making some Webelow music.
Well we decided to work with the triacs that came when we ordered the EL Escudo. After a long time of just not getting it and a trip to Cantina Marina, we were able to get the circuit going on the breadboard with three lights. So, we’re beyond prototyping with the Sparkfun boards and we’re making a breakout board. We’ll probably put the accelerometer on the breakout board along with the connections for the inverter, the lights and the microprocessor. It’s crazy but the only electronic components involved are three triacs and three 1k resistors.
It would be cool to actually print a board for this but since we’re lazy and very busy this week, we’ll just wire it, solder it and call it a day.
We have to give props to Mykle Hansen, the speed vest dude and the Mikey Sklar, the blinky bag guy who is a bit hardcore but helpful. We’ll be posting our own DIY instructions over the next couple of weeks.
We got our EL Escudo last week and put it to work right away. The first thing we learned was that the Barebones board doesn’t work with any standard Arduino shields out of the box because of differences in the pin-outs. I was being cheap and adventurous when I put together this BBB kit and it has served it’s purpose up until now. Sometimes, being cheap and adventurous only leads to more work in the end. Arduino shields are getting popular so keep that in mind when choosing a prototyping platform.
In order to get things going, we had to mate the pin-outs and power from the Arduino to the El Escudo. This wasn’t a huge deal to link +5v to +v and ground to any of the ground pins on the board. There is some significance to pin 10 in the code but we’re still working through that.
We used the CoolLight inverter Sparkfun suggested but we also bought a cheaper one to mess around with. The cheaper inverter has a 3v input rating and it doesn’t work as well for our applications. Even directly powering our panels with the smaller inverter from a 3v power source just doesn’t give the brightness that we want. The tiny inverter also heats up quickly.
Connecting the inverter to the board was very easy. There are 4 connections, 2 for inverter output and two for power. The 9v cables on the ends of the inverters make them easy to alligator clip or connect to a battery pack.
The example code and library is pretty basic. It all works around the basic on/off functionality of the lights. The pin constants are A-H with A starting at pin 2. We found that the EL_PULSE function is a good time-saver. We wrote some simple code to turn 3 lights on/off and delay. Everything seems to work fine except for the fading. That’s not a huge concern right now, so, we’ll revisit fading at another time.
Once everything worked (usb powered from BBB) we switched over to the lilypad with USB power. This worked well.
Overall we’re still very pleased with the outcome but we did by some triacs to take it further than the prototyping stage. The very funny part of this story is the other product they offered the same day -The EL Sequencer.
EL Escudo does sounds cooler than EL sequencer and has a cooler shape but honestly, this board is an all-in-one board and makes the other board look like a tire with no wheels. It has an ATmega168V chip onboard and it’s compatible with the Lilypad Arduino libraries. There is an additional LiPo power connection which makes a lot of sense. The only downside is that there is no array of inputs. There is only a footprint for a wireless board.
So, for prototyping and using a real Arduino, EL Escudo is better. For a finished product that already has a microprocessor on board, the EL Sequencer is a good choice. For the most flexibility, just use some triacs and make your own breakout board. Stay tuned for more on the breakout board.