Tag Archives: ATmega168V

These ballet shoes digitally track and visualize a dancer’s movements


This project is right on pointé!


Designed by Lesia Trubat, Electronic Traces (E-Traces for short) are a pair of embedded pointé shoes that allow ballerinas to recreate their movements into visual sensations using an accompanying mobile app. For those unfamiliar with this particular form of ballet, pointé refers to a style of dance where dancers balance on the tip of their toes using flat fronted shoes.

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Equipped with Arduino LilyPad boards (ATmega328) and three force sensitive resistors, E-Trace records the pressure and motion of a ballet dancer’s feet and transmits the signals over Bluetooth to an electronic device. The smartphone app enables the wearer to trace the data graphically, view the movements made in video format, extract images and even print them out for later use. This can certainly come in handy for those ballerinas seeking to improve their choreography and hone their skills in a creative yet elegant way, which is reminiscent of calligraphy.

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“Dancers can interpret their own movements and correct them or compare them with the movements of other dancers, as graphs created with motion may be the same or different depending on the type of movements executed and the correction of the steps and body position,” the Maker explains.

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While ballet shoes may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the IoT, Trubat has set out to put a modern spin on a rather traditional art form which dates back to 16th century. Although the E-Trace system is merely a prototype at the moment, it could soon be implemented across all disciplines of dance and training.

Intrigued? You can tip-toe on over to the project’s official page here.

Sketching a LilyPad sensor demo mat

The Atmel-based LilyPad Arduino – designed by Leah Buechley and SparkFun Electronics – is targeted specifically at wearables and e-textiles.

The platform, powered by either the ATmega168V (the low-power version of the ATmega168) or the ATmega328V, can be sewn to fabric and similarly mounted power supplies, sensors and actuators with conductive thread.

Recently, a Maker by the name of Duniken created a sensor demo mat for the LilyPad and posted a detailed description of the build on Instructables.

“I wanted a place where I could experiment with the different sensors, but also something that I could use to show examples of what can be done without constantly uploading code,” he explained.

Key project components?

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1 x ProtoSnap – LilyPad Development Board (kit) which includes the following:
  • 1 x LilyPad Simple Board
  • 1 x LilyPad Button
  • 1 x LilyPad Slide Switch
  • 5 x LilyPad White LED
  • 1 x LilyPad RGB tri-color LED
  • 1 x LilyPad Light Sensor
  • 1 x LilyPad Temp Sensor
  • 1 x LilyPad Buzzer
  • 1 x LilyPad Vibe board
  • 1 x LilyPad FTDI Basic
  • 2 x Conductive Thread Bobbin
  • 1 x Needle Set

Duniken also used:

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7 x sewable snaps
  • 1 x Piece of fabric big enough to hold all of the sensors
  • 1 x Fabric Marking pen

“Although I had the LilyPad Development Board, I decided to use the LilyPad Simple Board so I could use the extra pins as switches,” he clarified.

After drawing up a diagram using LucidChart, Duniken arranged the sensors and switches on the fabric, using the marking pen to indicate where each pin and component would be placed.

“I removed the sensors and used the marking pen to draw the circuit onto the fabric with a ruler to make sure all of my lines were straight. When I had the lines drawn, I again placed the sensors on the mat to make sure that everything lined up the way I wanted it to,” said Duniken.

“I ended up changing the position of the RGB light slightly so the lines were less likely to make contact with the other pins on the LilyPad. I wanted the lines to be part of the final piece so, once I was satisfied with the diagram, I traced the lines with a permanent marker. If I did it over, I would probably color code the lines so that it can be better used to explain how the circuit works.”

Next, Duniken cleaned off the marking pen, stitched on the sensors and other components, sewed the circuits and sketched the code.

“To ensure that the sensors stayed put while I sewed the circuits, I did a quick stitch with plain thread to hold the components in place. Using the conductive thread, I sewed along each of the circuit lines connecting the different components to the LilyPad,” he added.

“Be careful where the Positive lines (red) cross the Ground lines (black). I used a small piece of plastic cut from the LilyPad packaging to make sure that the lines didn’t short. I used hot glue to tack down the plastic so it wouldn’t snag on anything.”

Interested in learning more about designing your own Arduino Lilypad Sensor Demo Mat? You can check out the project’s Instructables page here.

Geppetto-style toymaking with Atmel and Arduino

The London-based MakieLab wants to take its customers back to a time when real toy making was a creative, hands-on “Geppetto” experience.

Indeed, the MakieLab platform allows DIY Makers to design a doll from scratch, which is ultimately uploaded and 3D printed at MakieLab headquarters. Subsequently, they are painted, with eyelashes and other features carefully affixed by hand.

“Avatars are very popular, but virtual goods have been phenomenal – we wanted to see if virtual could turn to real. We also wanted to help, introduce the magic of 3D printing to games and toys,” MakieLab founder Alice Taylor told Wired’s Liat Clark on the sidelines of Maker Faire Rome 2013.

“[So] we put out a working demo immediately, you would never normally do that. Dolls usually take four years from concept to shelf, between testing, building and feedback. We tried it the software way. We put it live and iterated with feedback.”

According to Taylor, MakieLab soon found that Makers wanted even more mods made, so they put clothing design online for people to hack, while also fitting the Atmel-powered (ATmega168V/ATmega328V) LilyPad Arduino inside the dolls’ heads.

“One lady called Cat wanted [‘smart’] ears,” said Taylor. “Whenever she walks into a room and claps her hand, the doll’s ears move toward the sound.”

Taylor confirmed that MakieLab would continue to offer additional personalization, which will be supplemented by an upcoming game in which children can build stories around their characters.

“One day, kids may create it all, right down to drawing fabric we can print with laser printers,” she added. “When we show kids how it’s done, you can see their eyes changing in front of you. They’ll grow up believing they can build things in ways we can’t imagine.”

Soothing blankets with an Arduino LilyPad

A weighted blanket is often used to help soothe individuals with sensory integration issues such as autism. Annuska Perkins of Good Labs has been experimenting with Atmel-powered Arduino LilyPads to enhance standard weighted blankets by making them more interactive and soothing, all while heightening their guided play capabilities.

Image credit: ITworld/Phil Johnson

Perkins recently showcased a number of e-textile Good Labs prototypes at the Tech@LEAD conference in Washington, DC.

“Among the LilyPad-powered items Perkins brought was a blanket with a sensor that will trigger a buzzer when covered up by your hand,” Phil Johnson of ITWorld reported. “Then there was the Blinkie Blanket, which uses 5 LED lights, triggered by touch, which can help, for example, to guide the user in relaxation.”

In the future, says Johnson, Perkins hopes to enhance the blanket by providing biofeedback capabilities, allowing it to connect with other devices to promote social interaction.

As previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the Arduino LilyPad is a microcontroller board designed for wearables and e-textiles. It can be sewn to fabric and similarly mounted power supplies, sensors and actuators with conductive thread. The board is based on Atmel’s ATmega168V or the ATmega328V.

Electronic textiles, often powered by Arduino’s LilyPad, are typically used by artists to integrate sensors and LED lights into clothing, which can then be programmed for informative feedback and artistic purposes.

Afroditi’s Arduino Lilypad projects

Afroditi Psarra has used the versatile Arduino Lilypad (ATmega168V or ATmega328V) to power various Maker projects, including those involving embroidery, soft circuits and DIY electronics.

“The LilyPad has allowed me to explore the [relationship] between crafts connected with women’s labour such as knitting, sewing and embroidery with electronics and creative coding – as well as the creation of soft interfaces of control. In my project Lilytronica I am currently using the Lilypad to create embroidered synthesizers that I use to perform live,” Psarra told the official Arduino blog.

“Considering that the LilyPad is not designed for creating sound, and you only have digital outputs and 8 MHz clock speed, the result is a very rough, primitive sound quality, which I personally like a lot. In my interactive performance Idoru, I am exploring the body as an interface of control of sound through the use of wearables. In this project, the LilyPad acts as a controller, [while] the sound is produced in SuperCollider.”

According to Psarra, wearable computing is likely on track to connect our physical bodies with the Internet of Things (IoT).

“I personally feel that we can certainly expect developments around wearables and locative media and various medical applications,” she said. “For now, the most interesting applications in wearables are around fashion, art and music, and they require a certain craftsmanship to be made.”

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