Tag Archives: ATmega328V

Building a Star Wars Chewbacca coat with Arduino Lilypad


Pop it like it’s Hoth! 


If you haven’t noticed by now, we Makers love Star Wars. And, just when we thought we’ve seen it all — from hacking 3D printers to play the Imperial March theme to Jedi-like drones racing through the forest to DIY cross guard lightsabers — another project has emerged from a galaxy far, far away.

PopIt

A Maker by the name of “Malarky” recently developed a Chewbacca coat that emits the infamous Star Wars theme when its collar is flipped up and turns off when put back down. The wearable piece is based on an Arduino Lilypad (ATmega328) along with a light sensor, a small LiPo battery, a few feet of conductive thread and a LilyPad buzzer that serves as its speaker.

“As you can see, the circuit is pretty simple, just find where you will place the components on your sweater. Make sure the light sensor will be completely covered when the collar is flipped down, and sufficiently exposed when flipped up,” Malarky advises. “This is what triggers the music.”

FEGNTNRI45HJFEZ.MEDIUM

How it works is super simple: If the light sensed is bright enough, the music plays. When the collar is flipped down and covers the light sensor, the tune stops. The buzzer can be embedded anywhere, however Malarky chose to keep it close to the main board so it was easier to sew.

The Maker then went on to code the incredibly popular song and light sensor. “You will need to download both the Arduino sketch and the pitches .h file, and load that pitches file into your sketch so that it can reference the code,” he explains. “Make sure and update all of the pins to use the ones you actually use in your Arduino. You may also need to adjust the light sensor sensitivity increasing or decreasing the “sensorValue” value, increase it to make it less sensitive, or decrease it to make it more sensitive.”

FJ3HWOFI45HJFGA.MEDIUM

Perhaps, you would prefer a Jedi robe, a Stormtrooper suit or a Luke Skywalker tunic. Luckily, the Maker reveals that the platform can be embedded on any garment that features a collar and programmed to play any song using the AVR based board. With May 4th quickly approaching, this could be the perfect outfit to rock throughout the office or classroom. May the Maker force be with you!

Head over the project’s official Instructables page for a step-by-step breakdown of the build.

Report: Smart garments are set to explode in 2016


50% of those considering buying a smart wristband will choose a smartwatch instead, says Gartner.


According to Gartner’s most recent report, smart wristbands will decrease in popularity over the next year as consumers will migrate to more all-purpose smartwatch devices. However, the market for smart wristbands and other fitness monitors will experience a resurgence come 2016 because of versatile designs with lower-cost displays, as well as the arrival of smart garments.

Table

While smart wristbands are expected to dip a bit from 70 million units in 2014 to 68.1 million devices in 2015, Gartner suggests this temporary decline in sales will be a result of an overlap in functionality between the bands, fitness monitors and smartwatches. 

“Smartwatches having retail prices of $149 or more will typically have the capability to track activity and have accelerometers and gyroscopes similar to their smart wristband cousins. The smartwatches differ from smart wristbands in that smartwatches need to display the time and have a user interface oriented around communication. However, some smart wristbands have the ability to display and send text messages,” explained Angela McIntyre, Gartner Research Director.

While these wrist-adorned devices will carry on, Gartner believes the emergence of less invasive devices, particularly smart garments, will potentially disrupt the wearables space. So much so that embedded clothing shipments are projected to rise from a mere 0.1 million units in 2014 to 26 million units in 2016.

For those unfamiliar with the territory, smart garments typically refer to items ranging from t-shirts with bio-sensing circuitry woven into its fibers — which may be able to monitor vital signs more accurately given its larger body surface area — to sensor-laden athletic shoes.

The research firm believes that this product category has the greatest potential for growth going forward because “the category is emerging from the testing phase and smart shirts are available to athletes and coaches of professional teams.” Take for instance, Ralph Lauren’s Polo Tech smart apparel collection which made quite the ‘racket’ at this year’s U.S. Open. In collaboration with OMSignal, the shirt was equipped with embedded sensors, including an accelerometer, a gyroscope and a heart rate monitor.

24runway-master675

Aside from Polo’s latest breakthrough, Adidas miCoach and Under Armour’s E39 compression shirts, e-textiles have the ability to revolutionize the manner in which data is tracked and measured in healthcare, fitness, military and industrial settings. Writing for Forbes, Robert J. Szczerba recently highlighted an array of smart garment products that are either already or will soon be available:

1)  AiQ Smart Clothing Company produces a line of smart apparel, including conductive gloves for smudge-free touchscreen use, clothes that light up, clothes that give off evenly distributed heat, and even metal mesh clothing that shields the wearer from radiation.

2)  Designer Pauline Van Dongen offers a wearable solar clothing collection. Her coats and dresses integrate solar cells that can charge your smartphone, but be obscured with fabric when not in use.

3)  SmartSox help prevent amputations in diabetes patients who have lost sensation in their feet. They incorporate fiber optics and sensors to monitor temperature, pressure, and the angles of joints in the feet, and alert the wearer or caregiver of any developing problems.

4)  Exmobaby is smart clothing designed for newborn and infants. Sensors monitor vital signs and movement, and send this information to 3G and Bluetooth components that can issue appropriate alerts.

5)  Researchers at Universidad Carlos III in Madrid, Spain have developed an intelligent hospital gown that wirelessly measures body temperature, heart rate, patient location, and whether the patient is sitting, standing, lying down, walking, or running.

“Smart garments is the newest market out there. In 2014 there really are very few of these on the market. They’re more like betas, the few that are actually being sold. But that’s why we see such large growth,” McIntyre added.

lilypadembroidery

This doesn’t take into account the countless number of soft electronics DIY projects either. Inspired to create their very own smart textiles, Makers have embraced various Atmel powered platforms specifically designed for wearable applications, including the Arduino Lilypad (ATmega328) and Adafruit’s FLORA (ATmega32U4), which can be easily daisy chained with various sensors for GPS, motion and light.

Interested in reading more? Check out the latest Gartner report in its entirety here.

Transforming fashion with tech



17-year-old Ella DiGregorio recently introduced a line of “Transforming Beauty” gowns that literally change from long skirts to short with the touch of a button.

As Mari Grigaliunas of MySuburbanLife reports, DiGregorio’s sample dress uses threads that run from the bottom hem to the waist of the garment to shorten the skirt when she pushes the button of an Atmel-based Arduino board hidden in the back of the dress.

Additional designs sketched by the teen arrange the threads in various designs to create completely different looks including a high-low skirt, a layered look and an Angelina Jolie inspired slit that disappears.

“I really like the idea of technology and fashion. There’s so many possibilities.” DiGregorio said.

“I’m kind of use to hiding things in clothing,”

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, quite a lot of wearable activity is currently centered around companies like Arduino and Adafruit. Both offer wearable electronic platforms powered by versatile Atmel microcontrollers (MCUs).

“Building electronics with your hands is certainly a fun brain exercise, but adding crafting into the mix really stretches your creativity,” says Becky Stern, Adafruit’s director of wearable electronics.

“Sewing is fun and relaxing, and adorning a plush toy, prom dress, or hat with a circuit of tiny parts can make you feel like you’re some kind of futuristic fashion designer. Playing with sensors and conductive textiles breaks electronics out of their hard shells and makes them more relatable.”

Just like their IoT DIY Maker counterparts, the soft electronics community has adapted various Atmel-powered platforms specifically for wearables, including the Arduino Lilypad (ATmega328V) (developed by MIT Media Lab professor Leah Buechley) and Adafruit’s very own Flora (ATmega32u4), which can be easily daisy chained with various sensors for GPS, motion and light.

Interested in learning more? You can check out our wearables article archives 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?

  • 

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:

  • 

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.

Soft electronics with Atmel MCUs

In a recent ReadWrite article, Lauren Orsini notes that soft electronics rocked the spotlight during Tech In Motion’s Wearable Technology Fashion Show, with models showing off accessories and clothing that lit up, matched moods and collected or displayed personal data.

As Orsini points out, a lot of wearable activity is centered around companies like Arduino and Adafruit. Both offer wearable electronic platforms powered by versatile Atmel microcontrollers (MCUs).

“Building electronics with your hands is certainly a fun brain exercise, but adding crafting into the mix really stretches your creativity,” says Becky Stern, Adafruit’s director of wearable electronics.

“Sewing is fun and relaxing, and adorning a plush toy, prom dress, or hat with a circuit of tiny parts can make you feel like you’re some kind of futuristic fashion designer. Playing with sensors and conductive textiles breaks electronics out of their hard shells and makes them more relatable.”

Indeed, just like their IoT DIY Maker counterparts, the soft electronics community has adapted various Atmel-powered platforms specifically for wearables, including the Arduino Lilypad (ATmega328V) (developed by MIT Media Lab professor Leah Buechley) and Adafruit’s very own Flora (ATmega32u4), which can be easily daisy chained with various sensors for GPS, motion and light.

“There aren’t any hard numbers on the DIY wearables community, but it’s clear from browsing members’ projects on Instructables that this group is far broader than your typical collection of electrical engineers,” concludes Orsini. 

”Stern also noted that there are 10,000 copies of Flora in the wild, [with] the company shipping them worldwide. According to Stern, it’s simple. Make electronics touchable and watch them take off.”

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.