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.
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.