Tag Archives: built-in USB support

MIDI drum glove keeps the beat with FLORA

Known as “FLORA,” Adafruit’s wearable electronics platform is built around Atmel’s Atmega32u4 MCU. The microcontroller boasts built-in USB support, eliminating the need for pesky special cables and extra parts.

As Adafruit’s Limor Fried notes, FLORA is extremely “beginner-friendly.” Indeed, the device is difficult to accidentally destroy by connecting a battery backwards, thanks to a polarized connector and protection diodes. Meanwhile, an onboard regulator ensures even connecting a 9V battery won’t result in damage or ruined projects.

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, numerous Makers are using FLORA to design a wide range of creations.

Today, we’re going to be taking a closer look at a MIDI drum glove designed by Adafruit’s very own Becky Stern that is powered by the versatile Atmel-based platform. 

Aside from FLORA, key project components include:


4X small piezos
USB mini cable
  • 4X 1M ohm resistors
  • Ribbon wires
  • Glove
  • Scrap fabric

Stern kicks off the MIDI drum glove project by ironing out some fabric to match the glove, cutting four small pieces slightly larger than her fingertips and ironing a small hem on one side.

“Put your glove on and establish what spots make contact with the table, then mark those spots with a pencil. Thread your needle and double the thread over, then tie a knot at the end of the tails,” Stern explains in detailed project tutorial.

“Stitch through one of your pieces of fabric and affix it to the glove fingertip over the pencil mark with a whip stitch. Be careful not to stitch the glove finger closed! Check periodically to be sure your stitches only pierce the intended layer. Stitch halfway around the pocket, tucking the seam allowance in as you go.”

Next? Stick the piezo in the pocket, finish stitching it shut, leaving the wire sticking out towards the back of the hand. Tie off and cut the thread.

“Repeat for the other three piezo pockets, and put your glove on to double check they are tapped when you finger drum,” Stern continues.

“We found the best placement was not necessarily on the pad of the finger, for instance the thumb is around to the side and the pinky is across the first knuckle.”

Next, Stern solders the FLORA circuit, tweaks/uploads the sketch and adds MIDI support to Flora.

“Once your glove is functioning properly, it’s time to tack everything down. Put the glove on and position FLORA so that the wires don’t tug when you make a fist. Tape it down so it stays put before stitching,” she concludes.

“Use plain thread to stitch FLORA’s unused pads to the glove. On the side where all the wires come in, stitch around the wires instead of through the pads. Tack the wires in place with strategic stitches along their lengths. Remove the tape and try on your completed drum glove!”

Interested in learning more? You can check out Becky Stern’s full tutorial on Adafruit here.

Atmel-powered FLORA measures your beating heart

Earlier this month, we took a closer look at “FLORA,” Adafruit’s wearable electronics platform powered by Atmel’s Atmega32u4 MCU. The microcontroller boasts built-in USB support, eliminating the need for pesky special cables and extra parts.

Unsurprisingly, numerous Makers are currently using Adafruit’s FLORA to design a wide range of creations, a fact that has caught the eye of the folks at element14. To be sure, the Newark Corporation recently issued a challenge to engineers and Makers to develop their own piece of wearable technology. The platform of choice for the contest? Adafruit’s versatile FLORA.

Today, Adafruit’s very own Becky Stern is showcasing a wearable badge designed to display the beat of your heart. The project – based on FLORA – uses the Polar heart rate sensor which you wear around your ribcage as it wirelessly transmits heart beats to the receiver chip included in Adafruit’s educational starter pack.

As seen in the video above, the badge can be worn on your clothes or bag, as it is held in place by a magnetic pin back. Required hardware items for this project include:

  • Polar Wireless heart sensor educational starter pack
  • FLORA main board
  • 150 mAh lipoly battery (with charger)
  • Eight FLORA NeoPixels or 8×8 LED matrix w i2c backpack
  • Magnetic pin back
  • Sugru
  • Thin stranded wire
  • Double-stick tape or foam

Want to wear your beating heart with FLORA? The complete Heart Rate Badge guide is available here.