Tag Archives: Adafruit FLORA

The Ski Buddy is a FLORA-powered coat that teaches you to ski

A DIY wearable system that can make learning to ski fun for kids.

As anyone who has ever hit the slopes will tell you, learning to ski can be quite challenging — especially for youngsters. Tired of seeing children be screamed at by parents trying to teach them to ski, Maker “Mkarpawich2001” decided to develop a wearable system that would make the process much more enjoyable for kids.


The Ski Buddy is an electronic jacket that helps novice skiers through the use of lights. Based on an Adafruit FLORA (ATmega32U4), the coat is equipped with an accelerometer, a AAA battery pack, and conductive thread that connects to LED sequins.

“Knowing that childhood memorizes can unintentionally affect our adult lives, I sought out to come up with a tool to help making the process of learning to ski fun for kids at young ages,” the Maker writes. “Of course, all children love light-up toys, so why not transfer that love to learning? With changeable settings, you can use this coat for a variety of lessons.”


According to Mkarpawich2001, the Ski Buddy can be used to teach linking turns, parallel skiing, hockey stops and even gradual pizza stopping (the act of pointing your skis together and pushing your heels out to form what looks like a slice of pizza).

The lights will flash once to suggest that they are working, and then guide the user along the desired path, including direction, speed and stops. While on the slopes, instruction is provided via the LEDs, depending on the particular lesson. For instance, alternating lights can let a person know to slow down, or when turned off, can mean they’re going the right way.

You can see it in action below, and head over to its page here. Those looking for a more commercial solution should check out Carv.



Turn your room into a night club with these sound-reactive lights

This Maker installed 12 meters of FLORA-driven NeoPixels to his apartment for a lighting system like no other. 

If you’re having a hard time deciding on which of the excellent (?) candidates to vote for this election cycle, perhaps Charlie Gorichanaz’s sound-reactive room lighting will swing your opinion. He doesn’t appear to actually be running for office, but at least he will have the website setup for any future political aspirations.


Regardless, he has our vote for the most fun bedroom, as he’s mounted 12 meters of NeoPixel strips in the corners where the walls meet the ceiling. The lighting is controlled by an Adafruit FLORA (ATmega32U4), which is normally meant for wearable use, but as shown here, can be quite versatile. This could be compared to how mere mortals put up comparatively boring crown molding.


This setup (explained here with diagrams and a parts list) was originally used in Gorichanaz’s apartment in Tokyo. After some code cleanup, it is now alive and well in the United States. You can see it shown in the video below.

If you notice that the audio is a little cleaner than you would normally expect, it was actually combined with the video after the fact. This is explained in the second link above, and could be useful for taking your DIY videos to a new level.

For another option, if you only want lights on one of your walls instead of the ceiling, here’s a sound-reactive panel idea inspired by the movie Ex Machina.

Watch-a got for today’s weather forecast? 

The Weather Watch monitors air pressure and temperature to provide its wearer with the forecast. 

If you want to know the weather, but care more about geeky style than accuracy, this wrist-mounted watch might be a good project for you. As creator “AgentMess” puts it, “It is obvious that the device cannot obtain the accuracy of established forecast services, but what it lacks in precision it makes up for in style.” He also notes that if you’re not interested in its weather prediction capabilities, “You can use it when you are going for a walk at night to be seen by cars and other road users.”


The display is made using a 16 x 8 LED matrix with a “backpack” to control the display, and its “predictive power” is accomplished using an Adafruit FLORA (ATmega32U4) with a GPS module and barometric pressure sensor. The idea is that the air pressure outside can be used to roughly predict upcoming weather. Since air pressure varies by altitude, the GPS module is employed to compensate for pressure changes due to movement.


As you might suspect, the accuracy of this gadget can be thrown off when indoors, but hopefully its not as important there anyway. Of course, there are all kinds of other things one could do with a GPS-enabled wrist display. This project, though very cool in its current form, is just begging for improvement. If you have any ideas, the original Maker invites you to leave them in his original article!

This giant LED thermometer scarf shows the temp outside

With this scarf, you’ll never have to wonder how cold it is when you step outside.

Winter is well underway in some parts of the country, and if you have to head out into the frigid air, you’ll probably want a comfy scarf around your neck. But what about an accessory that not only keeps you warm, but looks and functions as a giant thermometer as well? That’s exactly what Instructables user “caitlinsdad” has created using an Adafruit FLORA (ATmega32U4), humidity and temperature sensor modules to detect the weather conditions, a NeoPixel ring for the bulb, and an LED strip to reveal the temp in both Fahrenheit and Celsius.

This may be the techiest Christmas sweater ever

Be the talk of your next holiday party with this epic sweater.

Got an old, ugly sweater hanging in your closet? Or just an old one in general? Well, now you can breathe new life into the out-of-date garment with the help of a few MCUs and LEDs.


That’s exactly what UK-based Makerspace fizzPOP along with electronics retailer Maplin has done. The wearable — which they’re calling the “techiest Christmas jumper ever” — is equipped with an Adafruit FLORA (ATmega32U4), an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560), four 8×8 LED matrices, as well a bunch of NeoPixels and NeoPixel Minis. It also features a portable 10,000mAh power bank and a pair of electret microphone amplifiers so it can react to those Yuletide jingles.


As you can see in the video below, the RGB matrices allow for some pretty cool graphics to come across the front of the sweater, including a tree, snow, a bird and even some text for the ultimate holiday greeting. And who’s to say that it has to stop at Christmas? With a bit of programming, you can transform your boring pullover or turtleneck into an epic New Year or Hanukah outfit.

Want one of your own? You’re in luck because fizzPOP has put together a nice little tutorial video. If you loved this, then you may want to check out Adafruit’s recent NeoPixel Matrix Snowflake Sweatertoo.

This DIY meter will measure your creativity

Transmission is a creativity measurement system comprised of a wristband and a desktop LED display.

Ask any Maker or engineer, and they’ll all tell you the same thing: it’s too easy to get stuck overthinking your ideas and letting your wheels turn without making any progress on the task at hand. It’s crucial for us to get out of our own heads and sketch these concepts as they come. Although this requires plenty of practice, the more things that we jot down, the more we can create, and thus the better we can share our ideas.


Inspired by Craighton Berman’s Pencil Sharpener, SVA’s Products of Design program student Jenna Witzleben has come up with a slick way to measure creativity depending on how much you draw.

Transmission consists of two parts: a wristband that tracks your drawing and a wooden desktop display to monitor your progress. The wearable device accommodates any tool preference, whether that’s a pencil, a Sharpie market or even finger paint.


In terms of hardware, Witzleben employed an Adafruit FLORA (ATmega32U4) and an accelerometer along with a pair of XBee radios — one attached to the FLORA, another to an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) inside the tabletop tracker. The modules wirelessly communicate motion data to the creativity meter, which is embedded with NeoPixels that illuminate a series of bars based on output.


The bracelet is powered by a LiPo battery, while the LED display is driven by a 5V supply to a power jack and another supply to the Uno.

Intrigued? Head over to Witzleben’s page on Instructables, where you will find a detailed step-by-step overview of the page along with its customizable code. You can see it all in action below!

[h/t Adafruit]

This glowing LED dress is magical

One Maker has created a FLORA-powered, Disney-inspired dress that magically twinkles and changes colors as she twirls.

Like something straight out of a Disney tale, Erin St. Blaine has put together quite the magical fairy ensemble for her community’s recent electric lights parade.


The Maker’s fiber optic Snow Fairy Costume employs Adafruit’s Pixie 3W LEDs, which are around 20 times as bright as a NeoPixel — making them the perfect choice for a nighttime festivities.

The dress itself is equipped with a FLORA (ATmega32U4) for its brain and an accelerometer/compass module for enacting mode changes by spinning. Yes, it even twinkles and changes colors as she twirls, just like Cinderella.

Aside from the five Pixies lighting the fibers, the Maker included two more underneath her hoop skirt for an “underglow” effect. She also modded and connected a 60-LED LumiLabs Crystal Crown to round out the glowrious getup.


“I made a wreath headpiece that fits me out of some holiday floral junk from Michael’s, and then added a second concentric wire ring inside the first, and wired them together at each cardinal point,” St. Blaine explains. “The inner ring sits a couple inches above the main ring. I then took some ribbon and wove the crystal crown to the inner ring, and decorated the whole thing with lots more Michael’s holiday junk.”

Inspired by Disneyland’s Electric Light Parade fairies, the Maker ordered a cheap antenna book light that she wove into the crown with the two book lights pointing right down at her face. St. Blaine says that the battery pack was the perfect size to wedge between the two concentric circles of wire to hold them apart.


But why stop there? She went on to add little more magic to her costume, and by magic we mean a connector, so that the crown can change modes seamlessly along with the dress.

“I am still planning on adding some fiber optic lights to the wings as well,” she writes. “I’m thinking fiber optics are the answer here too, but I am a little unsure how to proceed without tearing the wings all apart and then re-covering them.”

So was it a hit? Umm… obviously! According to St. Blaine, “It was really well received. I couldn’t go more than a few steps without being stopped for photo ops and little girl hugs.” The Maker has provided a step-by-step tutorial of her build over on Adafruit, and shared a video of the fiber optic outfit in action below!


Made with Code helps design Zac Posen’s FLORA-powered LED dress

Zac Posen teamed with Google’s Made with Code to create a black dress that displays a pattern created by LED lights.

More and more, we’re seeing the fashion and technology worlds come together in ways never before imagined. There’s your less ‘out of the ordinary’ wearable devices like fitness trackers and watches, but then there’s smart garments that can do everything from react to your body’s temperature and mood to ambient sound. With the advent of conductive thread, mini microcontrollers and a burgeoning Maker community, the possibilities of what can be sewn and coded together are truly endless.

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Demonstrating just that, Google’s Made with Code and Zac Posen teamed up to show how computer science can push the boundaries of what’s possible in fashion using technology developed by Maddey Maxey and electronics from Adafruit. Students had the ability to log onto Made With Code and select a mysterious LED-based project.

At the time, the girls had no idea as to what they were contributing to but were excited nonetheless. The result? An interactive dress converging Posen’s “Los Angeles at night” inspiration and the students’ coding skills that debuted at the finale of the Zac Posen Spring 2016 Fashion Show, which kicked off New York Fashion Week.


All eyes were on the LED-embedded dress worn by Coco Rocha as it dazzled the runway inside a packed auditorium at Manhattan’s Industria Superstudio. The black piece featured short sleeves and a mesh skirt, along with 500 tiny lights that were programmed to emit different animated patterns — all controlled by an Adafruit FLORA (ATmega32U4).

“There is nothing greater than the fulfillment of creating something and seeing it come to life — to light up,” Posen explains.


Not only did they get to have a hand in designing the LED sequences, but 50 girls had the chance to attend the show and witness their collaborative effort light up the catwalk. For those of us who couldn’t experience the magical moment firsthand, Adafruit was lucky enough to capture it for us all to see! Watch below!

[Images: Google, Adafruit]

Maker creates a FLORA-powered, light-up necklace dress

In her exploration of e-textiles, one N.C. State student has crafted an illuminating necklace dress powered by FLORA.

Victoria Rind, a Maker studying textile engineering at North Carolina State University, recently devised an interactive dress with one goal in mind: to stand out. How’d she do it, you ask? Using an Adafruit FLORA and NeoPixels to light up its attached necklace.


“People want to be able to customize their style and clothing,” Rind explains. “What’s more customizable than a programmable dress?”

The idea for the dress was first conceived after witnessing other garments with built-in necklaces. Channelling her inner DIY spirit, Rind went out and bought a basic shift dress pattern and beads to create the dress, along with an FLORA (ATmega32U4) wearable MCU, four RGB NeoPixels and some conductive thread.

Once satisfied with the NeoPixels output, the Maker sewed the circuit to the dress beginning with conductive thread, and finishing it off with normal fiber to prevent a short happening in between the wiring.

“Without the extra layer of thread, the lines of conductive thread would constantly touch, and the light pattern would be glitchy and inconsistent,” Rind adds.

So what’s next for the engineering student? In five years, she aspires to bring functionality to textiles.

“I would consider my work a success if I could create clothing that adapted to changes in the environment,” she concludes.

[h/t Adafruit via N.C. State]

This interactive dress visualizes New York City’s subway

LEDs on this FLORA-powered dress light up according to nearest subway line.

For those of you who have ever lived in or visited New York City, you know just how intimidating the subway system can be. Cognizant of this, Boram Kim has devised a clever (and stylish) solution to the problem. As shown on the runway at NYU ITP’s Spring 2015 Fashion Show, the Maker created an interactive dress capable of locating the nearest station through illuminated LEDs.


The garment — which visualizes the entire mass transit map in silver thread stitched on a denim-like material — employs an embedded GPS module that can detect a wearer’s location and then highlight the closest subway line via a series of NeoPixels.


“For example, if the user is closest to Classon Ave. station, which is a G train, the whole G line will light up with green color,” Kim writes.


On the inside, the Maker embedded several Adafruit FLORA (ATmega32U4) and GPS modules, all of which are soldered together. A NeoPixel strip was cut to create smaller pixels for the various station lights, which were wired and hot glued to the inner lining of the dress. A 3.7V LiPo battery is tucked away inside a little pocket.

Surely one of the more innovative wearables we’ve seen lately, you can head over to the Maker’s official page to learn more.