Webelow Wear

Tag: lilypad

Lilypad Floor Pillow

by on Aug.09, 2010, under DIY Wearables

This is an awesome 20″ Lilypad floor pillow made by Angela at SoftCircuitSaturdays.com.  This is a very good looking project created to decorate her office.  We love the idea and wouldn’t mind having one of these hanging around.  How about making the debug light work when the pillow is being used?   Maybe she’ll also make the lilypad power supply pillow to go along with this?

Awesome Lilypad Arduino Pillow

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Android/Arduino Synergy…Finally.

by on Apr.13, 2010, under Wearables, Wearables News


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.

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Mona Lisa made possible

by on Jan.13, 2010, under Wearables

Mona lisa rendition

Artist rendition of the Mona Lisa

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.

Sparkfun Product page

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.

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EL Sequencer

by on Aug.11, 2009, under DIY Wearables

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.

Sparkfun EL Sequencer

Sparkfun 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.


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