Tag Archives: Gemma

These smart shoes will improve your morning jog

These Arduino Gemma-based sneakers will make your run more fun with less injuries! 

Like 75% of runners, Maker Lisa Kusaka is an avid jogger, but doesn’t enjoy it so much without her extensive playlist of music. One day, she noticed that certain songs seemed to suit her pace better than others, becoming a natural and entertaining pace keeper. With this in mind, RunBeat was born.


Developed while at SLEM (an international innovation and education institute for footwear located in the Netherlands), it is a smart insole that measures your running pace and generates music with the same beats per minute to match your stride. The system consists of a pressure sensor embedded into the insole beneath the ball of the foot to promote proper running form. The sensor reads the impact of each step and sends the data over to an Arduino Gemma (ATtiny85) located in the shoe’s arch.

This pace data is also transmitted to an accompanying mobile app via Bluetooth. This app then selects the tunes based on the preferred genre and the current running pace. What’s nice is that, since all of the technology is located in a 3D-printed insole and not the sneaker itself, RunBeat is compatible with just about every running shoe on the market.


On top of that, fellow SLEM classmate Chrissy Glove recently came up with an idea to improve the running experience as well. This time, instead of pairing beats to stride, the maker wanted to create a wearable device that would help improve form. Having dealt with injuries throughout her own career, she was well aware as to how imperative injury prevention is to any runner. So, she decided to develop a smart sneaker that would detect improper form in three ways: by recognizing when a runner’s gait differed from their norm, suggesting a forefoot foot strike and detecting the precise location of an injury when one strikes.


The aptly named Strike features a side lacing system to relieve pressure from the tendons on the top of the foot, while Adafruit NeoPixel lights allow for nighttime safety and easy notification. Glove attached an Velostat sensor in the heel pad to an Arduino Gemma (ATtiny85) and a piezo buzzer. These electronics, along with a battery, are all enclosed inside a 3D-printed insole.

The Maker wrote some code that would read the pressure sensor as input, and in turn produce a different effect with the LEDs and piezo buzzer accordingly. For example, when the runner strikes with their heel, they will feel a buzz to alert them so they can modify their footstrike to be more forefoot. Additionally, the shoe records the wearer’s normal foot strike pattern and stores it in its internal memory. This way, should the runner happen to stray away from his or her natural gait, they will be warned in similar fashion.


Beyond that, Glove included electrodes in the shoe that could read the nerve endings on the bottom of the runner’s foot. As a precaution should they get hurt, Strike can better determine the exact location of the injury by buzzing in a varying sequence and illuminating the red LEDs.

Introducing the Arduino GEMMA

This wearable board is one bad mamma GEMMA!

First announced last fall during Maker Faire Rome, the Arduino GEMMA is now available. The board, which was developed in collaboration with Adafruit, is a tiny wearable MCU that packs a whole lot of awesomeness in a 1.1” (28mm) diameter.


Similar to the latest version of the Adafruit GEMMA, the mini yet powerful platform is based on the ATtiny85. The MCU is supported in Arduino IDE (1.6.4 or higher) and programmable via microUSB. This enables all Makers to easily create wearable projects with all the advantages of being part of the Arduino family.

“It’s perfect for when you don’t want to give up your Adafruit FLORA and you aren’t willing to take apart the project you worked so hard to design. It’s the Adafruit and Arduino lowest-cost sewable controller,” Adafruit notes.


Ideal for small and simple projects sewn with conductive thread like the LilyPad Arduino, the tinyAVR powered Arduino GEMMA fits the needs of nearly every entry-level wearable creation — ranging from reading sensors and driving addressable LED pixels to Apple Watch-inspired buzzing mindfulness bracelets. The board features a USB bootloader with a nice LED indicator that resembles a USBtinyISP, allowing Makers to program it with the Arduino IDE (with just a few modifications). Beyond that, the Arduino GEMMA is equipped with a mini-USB jack for power and/or USB uploading.


“The ATtiny85 is a great processor because despite being so small, it has 8K of flash, and 5 I/O pins, including analog inputs and PWM ‘analog’ outputs. We designed a USB bootloader so you can plug it into any computer and reprogram it over a USB port just like an Arduino (it uses 2 of the 5 I/O pins, leaving you with 3),” Adafruit adds. “In fact, we even made some simple modifications to the Arduino IDE so that it works like a mini-Flora.”


Keep in mind that although it can be configured using the Arduino IDE, it is not entirely Arduino-compatible. Aside from the on-board tinyAVR MCU, other key specs include:

  • Size: 1.1” (28mm) diameter and 0.28″ (7mm) thick
  • Operating Voltage: 3.3V
  • Input Voltage: Up to 16V (reverse-polarity protection, thermal and current-limit protection)
  • I/O Pins: 5 (of which 2 can be used as PWM outputs and 1 as analog input)
  • Flash Memory: 8KB (ATtiny85)
  • SRAM: 512B (ATtiny85)
  • EEPROM: 512B (ATtiny85)
  • Clock Speed: 8MHz
  • MicroUSB for USB bootloader
  • JST 2-PH for 3.7 external Li-Ion battery
  • Hardware I2C capability for breakout/sensor interfacing

Think you may like an Arduino Gemma for your next DIY wearable project? The board is now available for $9.95 on both Arduino.cc and Adafruit’s online store.

Build yourself a GEMMA-powered buzzing mindfulness bracelet

Inspired by the Apple Watch’s Stand Reminder, Adafruit’s latest wearable project lets you know when it’s time to step away from your desk. 

If you’re like nearly 90% of employees in America, you sit all day for your job. Add to that the time you spend on the couch after work watching TV, reading, playing video games and surfing the web, that’s an approximate total of 13 hours spent each day in a chair of some sort. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little reminder letting us know to take a short break from time to time? That was the idea behind Becky Stern of Adafruit’s latest project: a buzzing mindfulness bracelet.


Powered by the one and only GEMMA (ATtiny85), the band emits subtle haptic feedback as the day progresses, offering a helpful hint to get off your rear and step away from the desk — even for just a few moments.

All too often, we get to the office, start working to look up and find that it’s already five o’clock. Where did the day go? Inspired by the Apple Watch’s Stand Reminder feature but at a mere fraction of the cost, this DIY project enables users to literally feel the passage of time, or at least “have a new awareness of how the perception of passing time varies based on what they’re doing.”


The wearable is comprised of a vibrating motor circuit, which includes a transistor, a resistor and a diode, along with a GEMMA to control the frequency of vibrations. The circuit itself is housed inside a linked bracelet, however as Stern notes, it can be embedded into pretty much anything such as the rubber from a bicycle’s inner tube.

This bracelet is created out of folded figure-8 shapes cut from leather, along with a pair of elongated tabs for its closure. Once the GEMMA is inserted into its resting place, a small hole is poked to make room for the resistor to fit through. From there, a Maker simply needs to solder the electronic components among the loops of the bracelet and voilà!


A user must then plug in the ATtiny85 powered board over USB to load up the code and adjust the timing intervals based on their haptic preference. In this case, the time interval is set to one hour, but can be modified by the user. Although the times are stored in milliseconds, the design does use the tinyAVR’s Watchdog Timer (WDT) to conserve power. What’s also nice is that, since it spends most of the day in sleep mode, the battery lasts for quite a while.

Looking to become more mindful as to how you spend your days? Head over to Adafruit’s step-by-step tutorial here to get started.

Building a life-size Iron Man Hulkbuster suit

A Maker has designed a Hulkbuster costume in homage of the upcoming Avengers 2: Age of Ultron film. 

With Maker Faire Bay Area just around the corner, there’s nothing like some life-size cosplay to spur a little excitement. While we’ve seen a number of pretty impressive Iron Man suits in the past, James Bruton’s latest creation may take the cake. The UK-based Maker has designed a slick Hulkbuster costume in homage of the upcoming Avengers 2: Age of Ultron film.


“I had planned to build a real life suiting up robot gantry for my Iron Man MKVI build. However, since the suit and its strapping system have progressed, the idea has become less practical. Also, as the Iron Man/Avengers series of films has progressed, Tony Stark has moved away from a special room full of robot arms to do the suit-up, towards suits that put themselves on,” Bruton writes.

With that in mind, the Maker had taken it up himself to create a next-gen getup with Hollywood-like appeal. To complete this task, Burton wanted the suit to not only be self-supporting for when the wearer climbs in and out, but 3D-printed using his Lulzbot TAZ machine and powered by several embedded electronics as well.


In order to make the suit free-standing, Bruton designed a set of stilts with space for a remote locking mechanism for the feet and legs. The stilts, along with portions of the frame, were comprised of plywood pieces coated in silver paint and connected by domestic door hinges at its joints.

The Maker included an end stop to prevent overbalancing, along with 3D-printed bearing blocks hinged around the costume’s thigh section and a locking bolt/pin to keep the joint in an upright position. Meanwhile, the joint between the torso and thighs consist of a bungee cord, a 3D-printed rubber buffer piece and plenty of padding to ensure comfort. Bruton also added some snowboard bindings to serve as locking mechanisms for the feet.


The suit’s 3D-printed hands and forearms even feature Iron Man-esque animatronics, which are powered by an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) in each arm that trigger servos to drive the hand plates. The forearms were designed to have “pop-out weapons” that required various mechanics to hinge backgrounds to point the repulser forward. Another Arduino is embedded within the torso of the suit, and connected by data connectors to activate features located in the body from joysticks in each arm. As for the hand itself, there are three fingers, with the middle one being a bit wider to resemble the suit from the soon-to-be-released flick. These hands are mounted to the suit, and Bruton says cordless screwdriver motors were used to enable the grippers.

“I’m using cordless screwdriver motors to drive the features, these are mounted in pairs on each arm on a 3D-printed bracket with a pulley assembly to pull the finger cords. These parts have to support the arms and allow movement in multiple axis, so I have two spaces for bearings on each axis,” Burton writes. “The elbow hinge will also act as a pulley with another motor to drive the joint, I’ll be springing the arm in the middle of it’s range of motion so that the motor only needs to pull it off centre rather than supporting the whole load around the pivot point. The arm is suspended with a combination of bungee cord and wooden dowel with 3D printed ends. I’m using some larger metal geared motors to drive the elbows — this are Como-Drills 919D motors with an 810:1 gearbox. The bungee and dowels are covered with fake pistons made from PVC pips and 3D printed spacers.”


As for its shoulders, these will also be open to not only allow the helmet to hinge back, but for the “weaponry” to be revealed. This will be made possible through four-bar linkage and some additional frame parts. One end is hinged on the existing M8 studding which the arms are mounted to, while the other runs into a channel. Bruton notes that the lever mechanism is sprung so that it can stay in either position or be activated by cable control.

Beyond that, the back of the suit is completely open to let a wearer easily hop in and out. As the Maker reveals, its rear panels needed to be able to be remotely activated and while the wearer is inside the suit, in addition to having a safety release for a quick exit in the event of power failure.

Like a number of its other parts, a majority of the chest plates were comprised of foam PVC, plastazote foam and 3D-printed components. The main plate is mounted, enabling the opening of panels on each side of the Unibeam to later hold internal detailing. These parts will be driven by an R/C servo so that they can open and close.


And, what would Iron Man be without an Arc Reactor? Designed in collaboration with Adafruit, both the Unibeam and Arc Reactor unit are illuminated by a series of NeoPixel LEDs and driven by a GEMMA microcontroller (ATtiny85).

Overall, this may be one, if not, the most elaborate and truly impressive cosplay projects we’ve seen. We wouldn’t be surprised if a few Hollywood producers call Bruton for prop jobs after this display of creativity. Intrigued? You can find an extremely detailed breakdown of the build here, or simply watch his 29-part video tutorial.

Create a color-changing sweatshirt with a potentiometer and GEMMA

Stay warm while looking cool! 

While we’ve covered a number of Becky Stern’s slick wearable creations in recent months, the timeliness of this one couldn’t be better for our friends in the Northeast as they battle these bitter cold months. Thanks to her latest tutorial, Makers can now easily create their own color-changing NeoPixel hoodie using a soft potentiometer, conductive thread, some tiny LEDs and an Adafruit GEMMA (ATtiny85).


Conductive thread is used to connect the potentiometer to the wearable platform board, which is sewn to the zipper on the front of the sweatshirt. This allows for the use of the drawstring to perform a sliding action. The sensor’s ribbon was divided in half, leaving two pieces: one for the pull tab, the other to slide along.


“The yarn in the sensor has a high resistance that GEMMA can measure with its analog input. The charm moves along its length, changing the amount of yarn connected to the input,” Stern explains.

Stern notes that a Maker could also couple a temperature control action of zipping/unzipping the hoodie with the LED color-changing effect. However, for simplicity sake of the demonstration, she decided to keep them separate.


With a simple Arduino sketch and stitching of the NeoPixels tasked with altering colors, you’re just about ready to go. The code uses the changing value of the slide sensor to adjust the blinking speed of GEMMA’s onboard LED. Slide the sensor and watch the LED blink faster or slower.

Before completing the project, a Maker must cut a small hole in the upper inside edge of the hoodie’s front pocket, and thread through a JST extension wire for the AAA battery pack. Store the batteries inside the pocket, and run the extension cable up through the front facing to plug into GEMMA’s JST port. And, voila!


Ready to give your hoodie some special effects for a cold winter night? You can find an entire step-by-step breakdown of the build here. Meanwhile, you can also check out some of Stern’s most wow-worthy wearables here.

A look at some of today’s wearable microcontrollers

This list is sew awesome!

Created by Leah Buechley of MIT, and introduced commercially with SparkFun back in 2007, the LilyPad was the first board to feature sew-through contacts for stitching soft circuits. Since then, a number of “ready-to-wear” electronics platforms have emerged, each of which have helped usher in a new generation of textiles that look to redefine wearable technology. In fact, a recent Gartner report revealed that the emergence smart garments will potentially disrupt the market. 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.

As first noted by MAKE: Magazine’s Boris Kourtoukov, “there’s a plethora of options” when it comes to these microcontrollers. What’s more, they all possess one common trait: they’re powered by Atmel. These so-called body boards are now giving Makers the ability to easily (and affordably) produce their own projects in ways that otherwise would have been unimaginable.

So, without further ado, here’s a look at some of today’s most prominent boards ready for adornment.

The Favorites

LilyPad Arduino


LilyPad is a wearable e-textile technology developed by Leah Buechley and cooperatively brought to life with SparkFun. Each LilyPad was creatively designed to have large connecting pads to allow them to be sewn into clothing. LilyPad can sense information about the environment using inputs like light and temperature sensors and can act on the environment with outputs like LED lights, vibrator motors, and speakers. And yes, they’re even washable.




FLORA is Adafruit’s fully-featured wearable electronics platform. The round, sewable microcontroller weighs in at 4.4 grams and measures only 1.75 inches in diameter. 100% Arduino-compatible, the platform is one of the most beginner-friendly ways to create some amazing wearables. The FLORA family includes an assortment of sensors and RGB LEDs that let you add lighting to your projects, not to mention also boasts built-in USB support, eliminating the need for pesky special cables and extra parts.




Those who are seeking the awesomeness of FLORA but in a tinier package are sure to love another one Adafruit’s wearable platforms: the GEMMA. The board, which packs all of its features in a 1″ diameter package, is programmable with an Arduino IDE over USB. An upcoming Arduino IDE-supported version will feature an on/off switch and microUSB connector.


TinyLily Mini


A brainchild of TinyCircuits, the TinyLily Mini is an Arduino-compatible module in an ultra-compact package. Geared towards Makers looking to devise e-textile and wearable applications, the board is very similar to the Arduino LilyPad, with the same processing power and software compatibility – but at 1/12th of the size. The TinyLily Mini also is equipped with sew tabs for eight I/O (four digital, four analog/digital) and four power sew tabs (two for power, two for ground).




SquareWear is an open-source, wearable board. The Arduino-compatible MCU measures 1.7″x1.7″ in size, and is equipped with a built-in rechargeable Lithium coin battery. It is designed to be sewable, which allows Makers to stich conductive threads through its large pin pads, solder a wire directly onto the pads, or solder snaps onto the pads for quick attachment or detachment from textiles and fabrics. Additionally, the MCU packs an on-board miniUSB port that can be used for programming, charging batteries and serial communication, as well as a color LED, a pushbutton, a buzzer, a light and temperature sensor, and three MOSFETs to drive the high-current load. See, it’s hip to be square!




Seeed Studio’s Xadow is a high-performance, low-power board that is perfectly suited for wearable projects. The microcontroller can be powered either via USB or a Lithium battery. Also, there is charge circuit on this module that you can charge for the Lithium battery through the USB port. Xadow has a diverse selection of compatible modules, including a barometer, UV sensor, LED, OLED and even a full GPS antenna.

MCU: ATmega32U4



Trinket goes to show that big things really can come in small packages. In fact, the tiny MCU is one of the lowest-cost Arduino IDE programmable boards on the market today. Adafruit designed a USB bootloader so Makers could easily plug it into any computer and reprogram it over a USB port just like an Arduino. It comes in two different versions: 3V and 5V. Both work the same, but have different operating logic voltages.

MCU: ATtiny85

Pro Trinket


A bigger sibling of the aforementioned board, this 5V unit combines everything you love about Trinket along with the familiarity of the common core found in Arduinos. It’s like an Arduino Pro Mini with more pins along with built-in USB. The Pro Trinket, which still only measures 1.5″ x 0.7″ x 0.2” in size, features 18 GPIO, two extra analog inputs, 28K of flash, as well as 2K of RAM. Like its older brother, the MCU has onboard USB bootloading support and Optiboot support, so Makers can either program their Pro Trinket over USB or with a FTDI cable just like the Pro Mini. (Recently, paying homage to our friends at Hackaday, the Adafruit crew even unveiled a Hackaday.io branded board — black solder mask, Jolly Wrencher and all. And, it’s stunning.)

Atmel MCU: ATmega328

Ones to Watch



BITalino is a low-cost, easy-to-use toolkit designed for anyone looking to build self-tracking applications based on information from their body. The platform enables Makers to quickly bring projects entailing body signals and quantified self wearable devices to life, as well as learn how to create actual medical devices — which otherwise can cost upwards of $10,000. BITalino is described by its creators as an out-of-the-box solution that offers an array of Arduino-compatible software and hardware blocks equipped with sensors for electrocardiography (ECG), electromyography (EMG), electrodermal Activity (EDA), accelerometry (ACC), and ambient light (LUX).




Launched by Ynvisible, Printoo is a printed electronics prototyping platform that is capable of bringing everyday objects to life. Comprised of various hardware modules that can all be connected to each other, it is currently the only platform that appears to have a robust flexible form-factor. This enables Makers to quickly and seamlessly create first product concepts for smart wearable devices. Moreover, the board is fully-compatible and programmable with the Arduino IDE.




Introduced by Maker Mohsin Farooq, SuperDuino is a coin cell operated, Arduino-compatible board with a built-in 1.7-inch color display and a three-axis accelerometer. As you can imagine, this makes the MCU a suitable match for a wide-range of DIY games, gadgets and most of all, wearable devices.

MCU: ATmega328

Rewind: Oh. My. God. Becky, look at those wearables…

From GPS logging dog harnesses to MIDI drumming gloves, Adafruit’s Director of Wearable Electronics Becky Stern has unveiled some pretty wonderful wearable projects over the past couple of months. So much so that we’ve decided to pay homage to the LED-lovin’, gadget-glowin’ Maker by showcasing several of our favorites.

While the inherent versatility of Atmel’s MCUs have made our silicon a favorite amongst engineers for next-gen smart devices, evident by Becky’s latest designs, they have also increasingly emerged as the go-to choice for Makers creating DIY wearables.

Interior Purse Lights


Never fumble through your purse in the dark again, thanks to this fashionable yet practical innovation. The project makes use of Adafruit’s GEMMA Sequin Starter Pack (ATtiny85), conductive thread and conductive hook and loop tape.

NeoPixel Punk Collar


Punk meets goth in this one-of-a-kind cybergothpunk creation — a leather collar studded with five color-changing NeoPixels. The project is powered by the ATtiny85 based GEMMA platform — which can also be substituted by a Trinket — and will surely make you the life of any party!

Cyberpunk Spikes


As we continue to delve deep into cyberpunk territory, check out these slick 3D-printed spikes! Add these bright spikes — which uses a NeoPixel strip diffused by NinjaFlex 3D printing filament — to any ensemble. This project again employs a GEMMA microcontroller that animates the LEDs.

NeoPixel Ring Bracelet


Sure, you can catch the attention of onlookers with the latest smartwatch or fashionable jewelry, but how about adorning your wrist with an eye-popping bracelet instead? Passerby won’t help but stare at the various light patterns displayed on this nifty DIY bracelet, which boasts set of four NeoPixel rings along with the tiny GEMMA.

Tank Girl Goes Cyberpunk


Whether you’re a fan of the 1995 American sci-fi flick Tank Girl or not, you will surely appreciate Becky’s 3D-printed, LED-embedded Bandolier of Light. Similar to the aforementioned cyberpunk spikes, this unique getup is comprised of NinjaFlex filament, some NeoPixels, and of course, an tinyAVR driven GEMMA.

Laser Dog Goggles


What would a bright night on the town be without an appropriate getup of man’s best companion. Here, Becky transformed once-ordinary Doggles into a paw-some pair of cyberpunk-style glasses with a rotating laser. 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.

Light-Activated Pixel Heart


Talk about wearing your heart on your sleeve, or in this case, shirt. The embedded GEMMA and light dependent resistor detect when a wearer’s NeoPixel heart is uncovered, and just like that, triggers the heart light on.

Superhero Power Plant


If there’s one thing you should know when it comes to Makers and DIY wearables, it’s that we love Iron Man! Incorporate a Tony Stark-inspired arc reactor into your next Comic Con cosplay costume with an uber-small GEMMA, laser cut acrylic frame, and NeoPixels to round out the handheld power plant.

Firewalker LED Sneakers


Think of it as a DIY version of those old-school LA Lights you wore as kids, only cooler. And, much brighter. Cheaper, too! This project — a collaboration between Becky and the creative Phillip Burgess — shows just how easy it is to mod a pair of high-tops with a NeoPixel strip and FLORA (ATmega32u4 MCU). A velostat step sensor inside each shoe activate a light animation with every step taken in these new DIY kicks.

LED Sparkle Skirt


Add a simple sparkle to your skirt or other piece of attire using a [megaAVR basedFLORA controller and accelerometer, conductive thread, and RGB NeoPixels.

Plushy Game Controller


Throw pillows? That’s boring. An oversize plush pillow that functions as a game controller? Now we’re talking! This idea was brought to life with just some conductive fabric, a FLORA board, and a capacitive touch sensing circuit to round out the electronics.

Wearable GPS Tracker


Make a wearable GPS tracker for you, or even your furry friend. Use an ATmega32U4 powered FLORA main board and GPS to log your distance. Simply integrate it into a backpack, dog harness, or whatever you want to track for that matter.

Pac-Man Animated Pixel Suspenders


This set of “blinken-braces” boasts 30 NeoPixels, each of which are sewn to these suspenders and controlled by a FLORA board running a dazzling Pac-Man inspired animation.

MIDI Drum Glove


Look like Michael, keep the beat like Iggy. Play your favorite synths by finger drumming! Stitch up four piezos into a glove and use a FLORA to transmit signals to your favorite music-making software.

GPS Jacket


Built around FLORA, this slick, megaAVR powered GPS Jacket reacts to your whereabouts with color-changing, pulsing LED lights around the collar.

FLORA NeoGeo Watch


Based on the wearable FLORA platform and an accompanying GPS module, the NeoGeo Watch can be tastefully paired with Adafruit’s futuristic goggles and GPS Jacket for a full cyberpunk/steampunk wardrobe.

Zipper Switch


Zippin’ awesome! In one of her latest projects, Becky explores yet another innovative way of turning otherwise relatively dull clothing into more fun, interactive attire. Take zippers, for instance. Here, the super talented Maker transformed them into a momentary switch for activating lights, sounds, and more using stainless steel conductive thread. As the zipper pull travels along the teeth, two pads of conductive thread are bridged, momentarily creating an electrical connection. This connection can be sensed by an Atmel based MCU, such as the FLORA or GEMMA, with an activated internal pull-up resistor.

If you’re feeling inspired to make your own project using Adafruit’s FLORA, GEMMA and Trinket wearable electronics platform, explore everything there is to know here.

Ring in the holiday season with this festive DIY hat

Can you believe it? It’s already December! And, what better way to kick off the official holiday season than with this slick wearable created by Maker (and hat aficionado) Barbara Eldredge.

Our friends over at Element 14 initially brought her Atmel based Jaunty Fascinator to our attention a couple weeks back after it had been crowned victor of their recent Hats Off Design Contest. For the award-winning project, Eldredge equipped a traditional English fascinator headpiece with Adafruit’s GEMMA platform (ATtiny85) along with an accelerometer to measure a wearer’s movement. Data collected by its embedded sensors prompted a series of NeoPixels within the hat to change color intensity and temperature from blue to green, yellow, orange and red.

As if one piece of headwear was enough for Eldredge, the incredibly innovative Maker has returned. This time with a fantastic fascinator for all holiday festivities!

According to the Maker, her electronic Christmas confection — aptly dubbed the Hot and Cold Christmas Cloche — features a temperature sensor that is responsible for triggering its lights to change colors depending on whether it is hot or cold. Ideally, the FLORA powered (ATtiny85) wearable will emit icy blue when it’s outside and a holiday spirited red and green when it’s inside, or anytime its environment is above 60°F. As she points out, the colors will soon intensify the more extreme the temperature.


If all goes according to plan, aside from its embedded FLORA, Eldredge assumes the hat will be comprised of the following components:

  • 1.3m white NeoPixel strip
  • 1-3x AAA battery pack
  • 3 through-hole 8mm NeoPixels
  • 2 through-hole 5mm NeoPixels
  • Analog temperature sensor
  • Side glow fiber optic
  • A white wool felt hat

As the Maker notes in her recent Element 14 Community post, she began by connecting the 1.5-meter NeoPixel strip to the ATtiny85 based FLORA and alligator clips, before conducting a NeoPixel strip test. Miraculously, she says, it worked on the first attempt!

“I disconnected those alligator clips from the FLORA and placed one of the 5mm through-hole NeoPixels in my breadboard. I cut and placed small bits of wire to correctly power and connect the LED to the FLORA. Then I found the Punk Collar code and changed the pin number to pin 9 and uploaded it to the FLORA. The light changed color beautifully. Then I placed the remaining four through-hole NeoPixels in the breadboard so that each Data-Out pin was column-buddies with the Data-In pin of the following LED, and used more little pieces of wire to connect each to power and ground. I ran the Neopixel Tiara code again and they worked,” Eldredge writes.

She then went on to connect the temp sensor.

“I disconnected the LEDs at the FLORA end and placed my temperature sensor on the opposite side of the breadboard, using more wires to connect it to the FLORA. Then I uploaded the example Simple Thermometer code and opened the serial port to find that the room was a sweltering 138 degrees fahrenheit. That didn’t seem quite right. So I read over the Temp Sensor overview and realized that it was calibrated to receive 5 volts of electricity and I was only giving it 3.3 volts. I changed the calculation to compensate, re-uploaded the code, re-opened the serial port, and all was well. A perfectly reasonable 70 degrees.”

As she puts the finishing touches to her design, you can find a step-by-step breakdown of the build along with its recently-revealed code here.

Tank Girl goes cyberpunk this Halloween

Whether or not you’re a fan of the 1995 American sci-fi flick Tank Girl, you will surely appreciate this 3D-printed, LED-embedded Bandolier of Light design from Adafruit’s Becky Stern. Just in time for Halloween festivities, this cyberpunk ensemble will surely be the life light of the party!


The build is relatively easy, comprised of a meter-long strip of 60 white Adafruit NeoPixels, some wire and sewing supplies, and most importantly, an ATtiny85 based Trinket or GEMMA microcontroller.


The bandolier itself is 3D-printed in white NinjaFlex, enabling it to be comfortable and flexible enough for easy flinging across the shoulder in Rambo-like fashion. After soldering some wires from the NeoPixel strip to the Atmel based MCU, the lights are placed between what Stern calls the “3D-printed bullets of pure love” and a strip of fabric.

Think this costume is for you come October 31st? Find the step-by-step tutorial from our friends at Adafruit here.


3D print your own Daft Punk helmet

Just last year, Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’ shot to the top of the charts and launched the mysterious duo back into the center of popular culture. Shorty thereafter, we began to see the emergence of several Daft Punk-inspired, Atmel powered projects ranging from animatronic cakes to slick Tron bars. Today, we’re showing off yet another… okay, just ‘One More Time.’ Adafruit recently created quite the dazzling cosplay outfit influenced by the techno giants mixes two of our favorite things — wearable technology and 3D printing.


Whenever the Daft Punk duo rocks the stage, there is something undoubtedly cool about them. Whether it is their thumping beats, or scintillating laser shows, fans have been enthralled for over two decades. The group’s one standout characteristic has always been their signature flashing helmets. The iconic headwear has become synonymous with classic dance music, and now you can have your very own!

The Ruiz Brothers over at Adafruit have put together a complete step-by-step guide on how to craft a customized Daft Punk lid, including everything from the 3D printing schematics to the required coding.

After a three-day 3D printing session using a semi-transparent PLA filament, the builders had their helmet base. To power the front facing light show, they incorporated the GEMMA and Trinket wearable platform boards — both built around the Atmel ATtiny85 — to serve as the brains of the operation. NeoPixel strips (144 pixel per meter) were laid inside the hollowed out shell, whose translucent material allowed for colorful LEDs can light up just about any room. “This makes the headset great for Maker Faire, household parties, and underground EDM raves,” the folks at Hackaday suggest.

Once installing the LED strips to their liking and programming them to hypnotize onlookers, the helmet was ready to ‘Get Lucky’ and jam! Be careful though, visibility is limited behind those blinding lights!

If you recall, last year the Wall Street Journal reported on the countless amount of people who devised perfect replicas of the helmets worn by the band and sold them for thousands of dollars. Now, thanks to our friends at Adafruit, with just a few microcontrollers, LEDs and a 3D printer, you can make a fully-functional version of one of the designs without breaking the bank. Don’t be daft, go check out the project’s entire breakdown here!