twirLED Final Post

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The basic idea for this project is a skirt that reacts to motion and lights up when you spin around on the dance floor. For social dancing like blues, swing, and salsa, the “show off” moment is when a dancer spins, so I wanted a skirt that only lights up at that time.

The function is accomplished by running a simple program that reads the position in the z-axis of a 3-axis sensor and triggers a light strand to blink if the reading is above a certain value.

Overall, I was pretty happy with the way my first prototype turned out, however, I became immediately aware of a construction problem during the first live trial.

The sensor and, pro micro and LED strips performed great, and as expected, but my solder joints on the LED strips around the hem of the skirt began breaking almost immediately.  I did some research into other LED and wire products and found an alternative way to construct my second prototype, which is proving to be much more durable.  Here is a link to the Instructable I wrote if you are interested in all the nitty gritty details of this project and a couple demo videos of the second prototype below.

The only issue I have yet to resolve is that the 5V power bank, of which I have tried several, turn off if there is not enough power being drawn off of them, but all you have to do is turn it back on, and everything works fine, so I don’t know if it is even worth addressing.  Of the ones I tried out, I think I prefer the Sparkfun version because it has a switch that works to turn it on and off and it has a small digital display that tells you what percentage of charge the battery has left.

Finally got all the info together and organized to post an Instructable for this project if you are interested in recreating your own version.  I also entered it into one of Instructables contests, so please like and vote if you enjoy it!  Thanks.

Click here to check out Instructable! 

 

Thermochromic Textile

First step is to make something integrating a yarn dyed with thermachromic pigment.  I decided an ear warmer would be a good platform as the heat wire element might enhance the ear warming function as it heats up to change the yarn color.

I like the way the yarn blends in.  Makes for a more dramatic reveal! Now to test it.

 

Thanks to Laura and Unstable Design Lab for providing the dyed yarn and Wayne for the assist with testing the needed wattage.  I’m still unsure of how to actually functionally power this project, but I think it is an interesting idea.

gLovED

First Prototype

The first prototype we made in class by running wires through a glove and soldering two LEDs on top of the fingers. Making sure that positive wire of both LEDs ran to the tip of each finger, and the negative wires both ran to the thumb. Then when you pinch a coin cell battery it completes the circuit for the finger and thus lights up the light associated with that finger.

Unfortunately, solder isn’t flexible, and after a few times playing with it, the solder joint of snapped off one of the LEDs.

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Second Prototype

I liked this idea and wanted some more experience working with conductive thread that I had only used once before, so decided to make a second version of this glove this time with lights on three of the fingers.

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I made sure to stitch a fairly wide pad on each finger to ensure good contact points.

 

pretty happy with it! Red, White, and Blue.

Had to hook it up to an alternate power source because I ran my battery out of juice.

If I make a third prototype, I would embed a power source in the glove so that you could light it up just by touching each finger to the thumb.

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Third Prototype

In the final iteration for this idea I decided I wanted the light on the glove to serve a purpose other than just being fun.

Problem: Many apartments do not have a good outside light source near the front door, so during the darker winter months, and for those who work late, it is difficult to find the keyhole in the dark, especially if one is wearing gloves to keep warm.

Idea: Create a glove with an LED that lights up the key hole when the user is holding a key in front of it.

Design Process: I started by taking a pair of gloves I wear all the time with touch pads already embedded in the thumb and forefinger and then used conductive thread to sew a circuit that is completed when the pads are pressed together. This works with or without a key.

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While I was sewing the circuit into the glove, I was showing a friend what I was doing, and he commented that he normally holds his keys between his thumb and the middle of his forefinger rather than the tip. So, I made and extra contact pad there by adding some extra stitches with the conductive thread.

 

This worked quite well!

The light output is quite good and more than sufficient for the intended purpose.

Sew Something…

Step one:

Find two fabrics that you like and cut out all the pieces.

Here are some instructions on that:

Basically
-measure your waist and divide that number by 6.28
-fold the fabric in quarters and use the number to draw the radius from the double folded corner.
-decide how long you want your skirt and measure it out from the first radius making sure to leave a seam allowance.
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After cutting the circles and waistbands, I sewed the bottom hem of the two large circles together with the right sides facing, and then turned it inside out and sewed the hem.  this allows the hem to be neat and beautiful on both sides.

 

Here is the finished hem

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Because this  skirt uses two woven fabrics that don’t have much stretch, I put a zipper in, so next step is cut the skirt where i wanted the zipper to go.

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Next comes the waist band.  using the same method with the main skirt, sew bands together with right sides facing along one of the long edges then flip and resew.  this is the top edge of the waist band
There are several methods for attaching a waistband.  I pinned the grey side first, right sides together and sewed them then, turned the skirt over and turned the edge under and pinned the print side

 

Waistband attached!

 

Now for the zipper!

this is a somewhat difficult part
I used a reversible double sided zipper.  The one I liked was actually for a sleeping bag, so I had to cut it way down!
Fold fabric under and pin the zipper in place
Be careful of the pins and turn the skirt inside out and repeat

E-Textiles

SELECTED PERSONA:

Name: Jenna

Age/Gender: 57 Female

Family:  Daughter and 2 cats

Occupation: Office manager

Hobbies/Collections:  vinyl records and classic books.

Technology:  iPhone, desktop computer, just got a kindle e-reader because she is running out of bookshelf space

PROBLEM:

Jenna loves working as an office manager, but has noticed as she is getting older that she gets sick a lot and has to take time off work when germs are going around, and this has a negative impact on work flow.  She also has a sensitivity to may cleaning chemicals used in the space, so more bleach isn’t a good solution for her.


Lets look at some data about germs in the office place…

An ATP of 300 or higher is considered officially dirty and at high risk for spreading illness. The dirtiest office surfaces found to have ATP counts of 300 or higher were as follows:

  • 75% of break room sink faucet handles
  • 48% of microwave door handles
  • 27% of  keyboards
  • 26% of refrigerator door handles
  • 23% of water fountain buttons
  • 21% of vending machine buttons

Surfaces with readings over 100 that could use disinfecting included:

  • 91% of break room sink faucet handles
  • 80% of microwave door handles
  • 69% of keyboards
  • 69% of refrigerator door handles
  • 53% of water fountain buttons
  • 51% of all computer mice
  • 51% of all desk phones
  • 48% of all coffee pots and dispensers
  • 43% of vending machine buttons

(http://healthland.time.com/2012/05/24/the-6-dirtiest-places-in-the-office/)

I’m going to focus on handles that aren’t on a sink since motion detecting faucets are a great solution already widely in use, or on keyboards, since these are less frequently a shared item.


DESIGN IDEA:

Antimicrobial covers for handles and knobs in public places at work that not only helps keep germs from spreading, but also alerts users to the danger of germs on handles, especially in shared kitchen areas.


COMPONENTS USED:

  • yarn
  • 2 large metal snaps
  • non-conductive thread to sew element together
  • conductive thread to create circuits between elements
  • LilyMini with SAMD11 brain
  • 3v coin battery
  • LilyPad Light Sensor
  • LilyPad Button
  • 4 LilyPad LEDs

LESSONS LEARNED:

  1. LilyPad components are fun to work with, but you have to take extra care to remember where you sewed with the conductive thread when you are trying to hide it in the design.  I had to resew part of the circuitry because half of the lights were not working correctly.  Unlike wires with traditional arduino boards, thread is harder to debug because I couldn’t see where it was and had to try to remember where I had sewed.
  2. As I was creating the prototype, I realized that antimicrobial yarn often incorporates silver as the microbe discouraging element, and that might interfere with the sewn in electrical components in this project.  I would need to do some testing to see if this would be problematic.  For the prototype, I used a silver colored yarn that I had on hand, but it does not contain any conductive metallic material, so I didn’t have issues.

POTENTIAL IMPROVEMENTS:

Programming that would trigger a red light after a certain number of people touched it to let someone know it needs to be washed.