Tag Archives: Adafruit FLORA

This dancer’s LED dress responds to hand motion

LEDs embedded in the dancer’s dress are triggered by quick hand motions and illuminate the costume.

Created by Danielle Jordan, in collaboration with Makers Angie Pittman, Eric Norbury and Jeff Putney, E-Motion Control is a thesis project exploring the construction and analysis of motion-controlled dance costumes. Driven by a pair of Adafruit FLORA (ATmega32U4), the garment packs two accelerometers, 50 RGB NeoPixels, some AWG hookup wire and two LiPo batteries for power.


Embedded beneath the dancer’s dress, the set of LEDs are programmed to be triggered by rapid hand motions. When either of the accelerometers mounted on the back of both hands sense a certain amount of movement along the Y or Z axis, a trail of NeoPixels illuminate the dress’ bodice in whimsical fashion.

Intrigued? Those wishing to read its accompanying research paper will have to wait until its available. In the meantime, you can watch the dress in action below. Now, imagine if the dancer complemented the outfit with a pair of Lesia Trubat’s Electronic Laces on her feet to recreate the artistic movements into graphical data and imagery.

These movement-responsive wristbands emit real-life superhero sounds

Bam! Pow! Zap! Boom!

If you’ve ever read a comic book, then you’re well aware of the one thing that every superhero has in common: they all have a special power, whether it’s memory manipulation like Professor X, web-spinning and crawling like Spiderman, or x-ray vision like Superman. Unfortunately in print, a reader can’t actually experience the sound effects that coincide with these actions. Instead, they are typically spelt out inside a callout bubble. BAM! POW! ZAP! BOOM! 


Well, Makers Niki Selken and Annelie Koller thought it would be a fun idea to channel their inner superhero by creating what they call Action Bandswristbands that emit sound and light effects as they move. In other words, these wearable devices bring those callout bubbles to life.

To accomplish this, the Maker duo used an Adafruit FLORA (ATmega32U4), an accelerometer, a piezo, conductive thread, a LiPo battery, some NeoPixels, a headband and laser-cut plexiglass icons. These icons were then attached to a store-bought headband and shaped with a sewing machine to fit the wrist.


From there, the FLORA and accelerometer were connected with conductive thread. The Makers then loaded the code to produce sounds and light effects depending on X,Y and Z coordinates and acceleration. The sounds were compiled from a library created by MIT, while the LEDs employed the Adafruit NeoPixel Library, of course.

“The hardest part was discovering the X-Y-Z access thresholds for the gestures that trigger the sound. We have three unique gesture sets that trigger three different sounds. Part of the fun is finding those gestures and discovering the sounds we programmed,” Selken explains.


Want one of your own? Grab your cape and zoom on over to the project’s page, where you can find its detailed instructions, schematics and more.

These smart socks will let you know what’s up in the washer

Get ready for the I-o-Feet.

When you think of the billions of “things” that will one day be connected to the Internet, socks may not be one of the first items that come to mind. However, as recent reports have suggested, the smart clothing and electronic textile segment is expected to grow by leaps and bounds, so it was only a matter of time before the IoT would head to our feet.


First reported by our friends at Adafruit, Maker Guido Burger has developed an intelligent sock prototype packed with a LilyPad ProtoBoard, a LilyPad RGB LED, an Arduino Pro Mini (ATmega328), and most importantly, an Adafruit FLORA 9 DOF sensor. The sensor is tasked with driving the RGB LED and enables a user to do one of two things: monitor the sock during the washing process and find answers to questions that they may’ve never thought about. For instance, have you ever wanted to know how many g-forces a sock has to survive or how many times will it be washed?

The idea was first conceived after Burger had been working on a smart home hack. When presented with the option of a smart oven, fridge or washing machine, he decided the latter was the most interesting one.

“Because why the heck do you need a smart washing machine at all? They are already smart (weight sensor, special washing programs), but I got interested as the cloth in the washing machine was not at all connected,” the Maker reveals. “So, taking the possibility to transmit data from a sensor being under water was a great basis – a must have.”

While working on the project, Burger discovered that he needed to coat the electronic components with acrylic resin — except on the through-holes for the conductive thread. The Maker also tells Adafruit that he switched from a LiPo battery to a coin cell, as it had a better rating for this rough and tumble temperature changing life.


With the prototype complete, the Maker has embarked on the next iteration of the smart sock. This time, it will be equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy, which will allow for it to work with an accompanying app to collect and visualize data from a smartphone. As seen in previous projects from Burger, Platinchen (or blueIOT) is a platform from Fab-Lab Germany that combines a certified BLE module along with an ATmega328P MCU.

Want to learn more? Head over to Adafruit’s official write-up here.

Halloween-spiration for some paw-some costumes

Makers, rejoice! One of our favorite holidays is quickly approaching — a celebration full of carving, candy consumption, and of course, DIY costumery. Though, we can adorn our own bodies with tricked-out costumes, what about our furry four-legged friends? These two Atmel powered costumes from Adafruit should provide some Halloween-spiration!

Adafruit’s Becky Stern recently demonstrated how to transform a pair of Doggles into cyberpunk-style glasses with a rotating laser. The Maker figured out that with children and sugar-loaded revelers abundant on Halloween, lighting up a ground-level pooch was a favorable idea. Using a Trinket 3v MCU (ATtiny85), a set of clear dog goggles and a laser diode as the center of the device, this invention will surely be a hit on the scene.


A small servomotor allows the laser to move back and forth, while playfully recreating the scanning beams of our favorite sci-fi heroes. Intrigued? You can acces the entire tutorial here. (Note: Now, while being the ghastliest ghoul on Halloween is one goal, safety is another of paramount of importance. Before assembling this build for your precious pet, make sure you read through Adafruit’s safety guidelines.)

Whether a fan of the smash hit Doctor Who or not, we’ve got another canine costume that will have partygoers oohing and ahhing this October 31st.


Adafruit has also showed off a TARDIS-inspired sweater that utilizes a FLORA wearable processor and an MP3 music player module to emit the iconic sound from the show’s time machine, while NeoPixels are used for the blinking blue light on top to round out the TV prop. With the ATmega32u4 MCU based wearable platform at the center of the creation, the sweater remains lightweight for even the smallest dogs. Need a few minutes of silence on your trick-or-treat route? An infrared receiver is added to mute the sound when you want quiet.


Now, if you combine these two costume ideas into one Maker-approved ensemble, you will have the most haunting hound on All Hallows’ Eve!

AVR powered smart purse keeps you from overspending

Sorry shopaholics, you may have just met your match. Australia-based company Credit Card Finder recently devised a high-tech, megaAVR based handbag that promises to help curb (more like stop cold-turkey) your spending habits.

Using an ATmega32u4 MCU based FLORA and a real-time clock, the iBag was designed to physically deter shoppers from accessing their credit cards during their most vulnerable moments. The purse is also equipped with an Adafruit FLORA GPS and LED lights that flash when a shopper gets a bit too close to their favorite stores, or as the company puts it, “danger spending zones.” RFID modules record every swipe of a shopper’s wallet leaving the bag and a GSM module can also send text messages to a responsible other, such as a husband, wife, or parent.


The GPS-enable purse was created to highlight the growing spending problem in the country, after a survey taken by the company revealed that 2/3 of credit card holders spend more than $500 every month on their credit card and 45% do not pay off the full balance.


While the bag designed to help combat credit card debt in Australia, and more along the lines of a PR stunt, perhaps this idea can catch on. We’re sure there are plenty of significant others out there that would agree!

Divergence is a wearable EMF detector powered by ATmega32U4

A Maker by the name of Afrdt has created a wearable EMF detector, aptly named “Divergence,” that provides haptic and sonic feedback of surrounding electromagnetic sources.


As Hackaday writes, after spending two weeks on a boat as an artist-in-residence in Linz, Austria, Afrdt decided to design a dress that detects EMF waves and outputs them to vibration motors and a headphone jack.

“Divergence is inspired by sci-fi aesthetics and real physics and questions the way we perceive our surroundings. It deals with the question of how to create physicality in order to demonstrate and sense the invisible forces that surround us.”

Comprised of soft-circuitry, an [ATmega32U4 MCUAdafruit FLORA sewn into the body of the dress is responsible for providing the feedback.


“The haptic feedback is experienced in the form of vibration patterns and the sonic feedback in the form of tones that variate in pitch depending on the strength of the signal. The detection takes place through the creation of two embroidered coils incorporated in sleeves of the garment that serve as ‘antennas’ for sensing EM fields.”

In addition, the zipper functions as a low-pass filter and volume control for the jack. One side bears resistive tape and runs to the FLORA, which is programmed to play an 800Hz tone; the other runs to the headphone jack via conductive thread. Hackaday notes that when the zipper is opened, the pitch increases to toward the maximum pitch of 880Hz.


Interested in learning more? You can head over to the project’s official page here.

ATmega32u4 powers these wearable turn signals

Metasphere, who recently created a motorcycle remote started using an Arduino and a smartphone, has transformed a once-ordinary biker accessory into a “smart riding jacket.” The garment displays right and left light-up turn signals synced with the bike’s own blinkers via the ATmega32u4 powered FLORA wearable platform and NeoPixels sewn into the jacket’s fabric.


Metasphere — a responsive platform that acts as mission control for Makers’ programable hardware and software projects — allows the data to be instantly relayed from the bike to the jacket, creating a real-time integrated product that communicates a rider’s intentions clearly and safely.

The Metasphere SDK enabled the Atmel based Arduino board within the motorcycle and the FLORA microcontroller embedded in the jacket to communicate with the iPhone via Bluetooth.

Adafruit NeoPixels were then lined up in a symmetrical pattern on a fabric swatch, sewn with conductive thread and sealed on the back with sugru to preserve the connections. Once completed, corresponding holes were cut into the jacket lining. A SparkFun LilyPad Vibe Board, which was stitched into the inside collar, produces a small vibration whenever the jacket comes within range of the motorcycle and completes the connection.

According to the team of Makers, a FLORA Lux Sensor was added to the outer shoulder area to sense outside light intensity and adjust the brightness of the NeoPixels accordingly. Once these NeoPixels were secured into place, the FLORA and XBee LilyPad were tucked securely into a closed inner pocket, keeping them from getting tangled or interfering with the function of the jacket.

To read more about the wearable turn signals, zoom on over to Metasphere website here.


The Burning Man vest you wish you had!

Burning Man has arrived. This week, tens of thousands of burners will head into the Black Rock Desert for the seven-day festival. For those descending into northern Nevada, you’ll love this blinking vest produced by Maker Shaidarelam.

Shaidarelam took Adafruit’s advice and has been working arduously on his costume for nearly a year. Using the ATmega32u4 MCU-based FLORA platform, the Maker has made a vest that’ll clearly make him stand out in any crowd, even the eclectic gathering at Burning Man!

According to Adafruit, this is the second iteration of his light vest, as this year’s version will be bigger and better than the one he sported to the festival in the past. Using NeoPixels and some nifty sewing, our Maker has created one of the coolest wearable’s we have seen of late.

By incorporating a microphone, the vest can now react to music and even sports a solar power source. As any festival veteran can tell you, charging capabilities are worth their weight in gold at these events. Using the sun to power this vest is nothing short of genius and will make him an even bigger hit among the crowds.

It’s T-shirt time!

Our clothes already say a lot about us, but thanks to the latest breakthroughs in wearable technology, they’re about to say a whole lot more. For decades, a vast majority of us have turned to fashion to express ourselves, particularly with those good ol’ graphic t-shirts. However, these t-shirts can only go so far. Thanks to the introduction of Arduino and Adafruit, both which offer wearable electronic platforms powered by versatile Atmel microcontrollers (MCUs), we’ve seen a transition from off-the-rack apparel to DIY wearable masterpieces that truly showcase one’s individuality.

“Building electronics with your hands is certainly a fun brain exercise, but adding crafting into the mix really stretches your creativity,” Becky Stern, Adafruit’s Director of Wearable Electronics, recently told ReadWrite. Members of the soft electronics community have been able to bring their ideas to life by adapting various Atmel-powered platforms specifically for wearables, including the Arduino Lilypad (ATmega328V) and Adafruit’s FLORA (ATmega32u4).


Today, we’re taking a look at some of the most innovative, embedded t-shirts that added a Maker twist to the everyday garment. Let’s just say… they’re sew awesome!

A shirt that counts your emails…

A Maker by the name of Chris Ball designed a custom-printed shirt that was capable of displaying the number of unread e-mails in your inbox using an Arduino Lilypad MCU (ATmega328V), a couple of LEDs, conductive thread and a Bluetooth dongle which communicated with a nearby Android phone.

A shirt that plays Tetris…

To celebrate the game’s 30th anniversary, Maker Mark Kerger created a Tetris-playing shirt by embedding an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), four AA batteries and 128 LEDs into the garment. Pretty much the only thing this nifty wearable game can’t do is play the Tetris soundtrack.

A shirt that plays Pong…

Speaking of vintage video games, a young Maker by the name of Spencer recently posted an Instructable detailing the creation of a flexible 14 x 15 pixel, Pong-playing t-shirt. The screen consisted of RGB LED strips, while an Arduino Mega (ATmega1280) served as the brains of the game.

A shirt that plays music…

A Maker going by the name “BBrodsky” gave a much more literal meaning to the term ‘walkman.’ The Maker developed an MP3-equipped workout shirt powered by an Arduino LilyPad (MP3) (ATmega328P) and an accelerometer to detect whether or not the wearer is moving, and if so, it would play his or her music. According to its creator, the goal of the system was to promote an active lifestyle for wearers.

A shirt that visualizes sound…


Created by the folks at New York-based design lab CRATED, the Sync shirt is described by its Makers as “an audio responsive VJ Shirt” that visually connects its wearer to the background music in a club. This visual connection is derived from an LED-embedded patch that is inserted into the front of the shirt, which pulses at varying degrees of intensity depending upon what music is playing. Inspired by the emergence of visual DJs that use light and sound in their performances at nightclubs throughout New York City, London and Europe, this eclectic shirt enables partygoers to become active participants in the light shows instead of just passive watchers.

A shirt that folds itself…

In addition to their aforementioned Sync shirt, Makers Maddy Maxey and Mari Kussman of CRATED have also experimented with what they referred to as “textile manipulation.” According to the duo, the Zygomatic is “a tessellating shirt controlled by a computer interface.” Both Maxey and Kussman believe this is just a small segue to modular clothing systems and a different kind of manufacturing.

A shirt that can change the TV channel…

A few years ago, designer Rebecca Albrand introduced an innovative solution for those who always seemed to misplace the TV remote. Utilizing the body as a platform for control and functionality, the t-shirt can control any television set that is able to connect to a universal remote. Using a conductive thread that’s sewn through the fabric itself, this article of clothing uses soft switches to create a circuit board of sorts.

A shirt that can protect your personal space… 

While at a hackathon back in 2011, a DIYer by the name of “Rainycat” designed a temperature sensing t-shirt utilizing an Arduino Lilypad (ATmega328V). The innovative shirt features two cat heads — one green (the color of a cool, calm collected cat), the other red (a hot, angry cat). The LED eyes light up based on temperatures of over and under 27 degrees Celsius. For instance, if the wearer encountered someone speaking loudly to them within close proximity, the heat from their breath would push the sensor Celsius average over this point. Subsequently, the LEDs would turn off the cool, calm green cat head and switch on the red. As the Maker put its, this would be a signal to whomever is causing the angry red cat’s LEDs eyes to light up, to back off “You’re in mah face!”

A shirt that simulates being tackled…

Ever wanted to know what it feels like to be tackled by an NFL linebacker? The Alert Shirt will allow you to just that, all from the comfort of your couch. Connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth, the shirt is embedded with tiny motors replicate just how a football player feels at key moments during a game. Think haptic feedback on a larger scale, and against your body rather than the tip of your finger. As our friends at Adafruit explained, though there have been Makers creating Atmel-powered scarves and t-shirts that can create a vibration sensation for wearers, “this technology is more sophisticated because it is using a lot more data.”

A shirt that sparkles and glows…

The ATmega168-powered Twirkle Disc Shirt reacts to body movements creating unique light and glow effects. As one of the first commercially available, ready-to-wear LED shirts on the market, Adafruit’s Becky Stern and Ladyada had to take a look inside the motion-activated garment.

A shirt that you can program…

London-based interactive clothing company CuteCircuit had teamed up with Scotch whiskey distillers Ballantine’s to create tshirtOS, the world’s first wearable, sharable and programmable t-shirt. As a futuristic approach to the original canvas of personal expression, the digital T-shirt can be personalized and controlled using an iPhone app via wireless connection. Thanks to its built-in camera, microphone, accelerometer and speakers, wearers have the ability to display tweets, share music, take photos and share photos all from their shirt.

A shirt that can show you affection…

Also designed by the co-Founders of CuteCircuit, Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz, the Hug Shirt is exactly what it sounds like — a shirt that lets people send long distance hugs! The garment is embedded with a number of sensors that feel the strength of the touch, the skin warmth and the heartbeat rate of the sender, while actuators recreate the sensation of touch, warmth and emotion of the hug to the shirt of the distant loved one. As its website explains, the Hug Shirt is a Bluetooth accessory for Java-enabled mobile phones. Hug shirts don’t have any assigned phone number; instead, the data goes directly from the sensors to your mobile phone which then delivers the hug data to your friend’s phone, all seamlessly transmitted via Bluetooth to his or her shirt! “Sending hugs is as easy as sending an SMS and you will be able to send hugs while you are on the move.”

A shirt that rocks out…

Thanks to the folks over at ThinkGeek, simply tap the drums on this interactive shirt with your finger and listen to the tunes play through its embedded speaker. With seven different drum sounds, you’re ready for a personal drum solo on your chest. According to its site, “Once your loop is created, layer additional beats on top to build up a complex rhythm. You can make loops up to 3 minutes long and you’ve got unlimited tracks to play with.”

A shirt that displays messages…

A Maker mom and son recently created an LED matrix shirt that could scroll messages and display simple graphics. Using an Arduino Lilypad (ATmega328) as a controller, a rechargeable LiPo battery, 50 LilyPad LEDs, an FTDI breakout board, a mini USB connector and some conductive thread, the duo completed their mutli-purpose shirt that not only looks good, but can act as a message board and general purpose display. Adding to the fun, the shirt can play four different games controlled by a small joystick!

A shirt hoodie that lets you send discrete messages…

Using an Atmel-based Arduino and an Arduino GSM shield, a pair of New York University students designed what they call the “Smart Hoodie,” a hooded sweatshirt that can respond to various gestures — touching the hood, touching a sleeve and rolling up a sleeve, each of which send a different text message to a pre-programmed contact.

And… now only a few weeks away, World Maker Faire is certainly a place to express yourself with clothing no exception. Here’s just some of our favorite t-shirts from around the grounds last year.

Smaller electronics, smarter clothing

In a recent Gigaom article, Signe Brewster notes that a new generation of textiles is on the brink of redefining wearable technology.

To date, a great deal of wearable activity has been centered around companies like Arduino and Adafruit, both offering wearable electronic platforms powered by versatile Atmel microcontrollers (MCU).


Though we may have yet to find the easy-to-make smart textile, Brewster encourages startups wishing to do so need to find their fabric and sensors and then independently develop a way to combine them.

“What was missing until now were electronics small enough to fit into clothing the same way as a button or a single cotton fiber.” With the advent of Arduino Lilypad (ATmega328V) and Adafruit’s FLORA (ATmega32u4), we’re seeing the emergence of the softer side of wearable technology, which hides LED lights, battery packs and electronic devices in the folds of clothing fabric. With more platforms readily accessible, we can expect to see more Makers creating a next-gen of wearable gizmos.

Ever wanted a t-shirt that can send and display text messages? Now you can — thanks to the latest innovation of startup, Switch Embassy. The only “scrunchable, washable and connected t-shirt” is embedded with LED lights, each of which are woven directly into the fabric.


“Until technology, like fashion, can augment who we are in the exact way we want, it won’t be compelling enough to wear on our bodies,” Brewster concludes.

Interested in learning more about wearable tech? Check out what Atmel has been up to in this exciting, evolving space.