Tag Archives: LilyPad Arduino

These Arduino-powered shoulder pads make Wi-Fi visible


Hertzian Armor is a piece of shoulder armor that visually illustrates the ubiquity of Wi-Fi networks. 


In today’s constantly connected world, there are an infinite number of wireless signals being sent to and from the gizmos and gadgets around us. However, they cannot be seen. As a way to better oberseve these invisible interactions, UC Berkeley design students Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby have created what they call Hertzian Armor — a wearable device that visualizes the ubiquity of Wi-Fi.

Should

The duo first coined the term “Hertzian space,” as a way to best describe the interfacing between electromagnetic waves and human experiences, which served as the basis for the project.

“Our initial approach to this assignment was to create an object that allows us to see the unseen. In this way we could begin to explore how we interact with the invisible world around us, and start a conversation about something we may come in contact with everyday, but not fully understand,” the Makers write. “We initially started looking at alcohol sensors and pollution sensors, two things we are affected by but never see. While brainstorming how to implement this technology in the wearable, we stumbled on a larger goal, how can we make Wi-Fi visible?”

The wearable itself is comprised of cyberpunkish shoulder pads that are embedded with an Adafruit Wi-Fi breakout module with an on-board antenna attached to a LilyPad Arduino (ATmega328P) tasked with scanning for nearby networks. Aside from that, the piece of armor is powered by a 2000mAh polymer lithium-ion battery, while a LilyPad LiPower supply converts the 3.7V from the battery to the necessary 5V to juice up the entire unit.

Wea

Meanwhile, a few overlapping pieces of neoprene are equipped with NeoPixel strips underneath each flap that are used to signify the strength of the received wireless signals. The color-changing RGB LED output represents the security or openness of each particular network: red for highly-secure, restricted networks (WPA2), green for less sure, open networks (WPA, WEP), and blue for open hotspots.

“We decided on creating shoulder armor because we wanted a wearable that would be bold enough to display at Burning Man or an event like Silicon Valley Fashion Week, but also simple enough to be worn around Berkeley,” Dunne and Raby explain.

Well, mission accomplished! Intrigued by this wearable project? Head over to its official page on Hackster.io to learn more, and be sure to watch it in action as their prototype illumines in red, green and blue as its wearer wanders through the campus turning heads along the way.

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

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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.

MCUATmega328

FLORA

Mega

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.

MCUATmega32U4

GEMMA

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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.

MCUATtiny85

TinyLily Mini

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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).

MCUATmega328

SquareWear

Sqw

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!

MCUATmega328

Xadow

Xadow_MainBoard

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

adafruit-trinket-5v

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

MFG_2000

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

Bit

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).

MCUATmega328

Printoo

Printoo

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.

MCUATmega328

SuperDuino

SuperDuino

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

This Belle dress is perfect for Disney’s Electric Light Parade


Beauty and the LEDs?


Beauty and the Beast lovers, this latest project is for you. In what may very well be the brightest idea (literally) since Zoey’s LED Minnie Mouse costume, Maker mom Teresa Roberts created a Belle-inspired dress that would fit right into any Disney Electric Light Parade.

Dress

To bring this idea to life, Roberts used four Lilypad Arduino units (ATmega328) connected to approximately 600 LEDs. The edge of the skirt is outlined with warm white lights, while red lights emit an animated swirling sequence and ultra bright clear lights are set to randomly twinkle.

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1421805897.108444

And, what would a Belle ensemble be without her enchanted rose? The character’s signature piece is designed into the dress with some EL wire, which is illuminated in red, white and green. Roberts also used a USB converter for the EL wire, while the dress itself is powered by three C batteries.

BelleRose

In terms of fabric, while originally planning to use conductive thread, Roberts learned rather quickly that would be a daunting task. Instead, the Maker mom turned to thin 24-gauge speaker wire so she wouldn’t have to worry about shorts.

BelleWires

Interested in learning more? You can find a detailed log of her build here, and watch some Disney magic below!

Report: Wearables to drive significant battery revenue

Analysts at IHS say the global market for batteries used in wearable electronics will increase more than tenfold in just four short years, propelled by new devices suitable for active sports and fitness lifestyles. 

Indeed, worldwide revenue for wearable electronics batteries is projected to reach $77 million by 2018, up considerably from a mere $6 million by year-end in 2014.

In addition, industry revenue will have grown nearly 120 percent from 2014 levels.

“Wearable electronics will be the key to sustaining the current very-high-growth levels of battery revenue in consumer electronics,” explained Thomas McAlpine, power supply and storage component analyst for IHS.

“The tremendous expansion in store will come thanks to an increase in the shipments of smartwatch products, wearable health monitoring devices and smart glasses—products geared toward an active lifestyle combining advanced technological trends in miniature computing with newly smart consumer imperatives in fitness and fashion.”

In addition, annual shipments for wearable electronic devices will reach an estimated 56 million units by 2018, fueling continued demand for the batteries that power these products.

“Of the total number of batteries expected to be installed in wearable electronics by 2018, lithium polymer batteries will take the predominant share, accounting for 73 percent of total wearable electronics battery revenue,” said McAlpine. 

”Lithium polymer batteries are typically the preferred choice as they are lighter in weight and can be manufactured into a wider range of shapes and sizes, compared to traditional lithium-ion batteries.”

Smartphone and tablet PC demand will continue to drive the majority of revenue growth in the lithium battery market for portable electronics over the next couple of years, with the combined shipments of these devices projected to grow 46 percent from 2013 to 2015. 

However, shipments will decrease from 2015 onward, and coupled with projected erosion in the average selling prices of lithium battery cells, growth will decelerate for the overall lithium battery market for portable consumer electronics.

“This means the emergence of new applications in the market is critical. Lithium batteries will remain an integral component for innovation in consumer electronics,” McAlpine added. “To achieve sustained market growth, new wearable electronics and other devices need to be introduced and adopted by the mass market, similar to what is occurring now in recently emerging product categories.”

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, Atmel is right in the middle of the wearable tech revolution, with the the soft electronics DIY Maker community adapting various Atmel-powered platforms specifically for wearables, including the Arduino Lilypad (ATmega328V) (developed by MIT Media Lab professor Leah Buechley), along with Adafruit’s very own Gemma (Atmel ATtiny85) and Flora (ATmega32u4), the latter of which can be easily daisy chained with various sensors for GPS, motion and light.

In addition, Atmel’s microcotrollers are found in a number of smartwatches and wearable medical devices.

Interested in learning more about wearables? You can check out our extensive article archive on the subject 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.”