Wearable Tech at Dragon Con, Part 1

This year I attended my first ever Dragon Con! I am writing about my experience over on SparkFun’s blog. Take a look at my first post which talks about some of the projects I created to wear and sessions I taught.

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Getting Ready for Bay Area Maker Faire

I’m super excited to return to Bay Area Maker Faire after a long absence. I’ll be heading out to San Mateo with some of my good friends from SparkFun - we all picked some projects we’re going to check out over on the SparkFun blog.

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DIY: Gesture Controlled Star Wars Stockings

Earlier this month I found some adorable Star Wars Christmas stockings at Target and decided to augment them with some electronics to make them more interactive.

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The Star Wars stockings hang by the chimney (of course!)
To activate them you must use the Force!

These augmented Christmas stockings play sound effects when you move your hands in front of them. Each recognizes four gestures - up, down, left, and right. Created with a LilyPad MP3 player, APDS-9960 gesture sensor, and NeoPixels connected with conductive thread so the circuit is embedded directly in the stocking. Programmed in Arduino.

This has turned out to be one of my favorite interactive fabric projects so far! Here are a few photos from my build, scroll down for a link to a full tutorial I've published on Instructables if you want to try building your own.

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DIY: Three Easy Glowing Christmas Stockings

This weekend I crafted up a storm decorating my house with some glowing Christmas stockings. I saw these stockings as I was wandering through the Christmas aisles of Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago and immediately had some tech in mind to add to the designs. Here's a showcase of a few different ways to add some electronic sparkle and shine to your stockings with without any soldering! Read on for some progress shots and links to the full tutorials on Instructables.

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Fairy Lights Stocking

The first stocking I created was super easy, using a string of fairy lights to trace a reindeer silhouette. Using invisible/clear thread to attach the string lights made it look like the stocking was purchased that way! The battery pack is hidden on the back of the stocking and kept in place with a little velcro. 

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 Stitching the string of lights around the edge of the design.

Stitching the string of lights around the edge of the design.

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EL Wire Stocking

The second stocking I built uses chasing EL wire, which is a fun EL wire that turns on and off strands within the casing to create an animated effect. I placed the EL wire along the lovely waves/curves of the embroidery. It was a little trickier than the fairy lights design, as I wanted to hide pieces of the wire so the one strand looked like multiple strands. Cutting holes in the stocking to thread the EL in and out of the lining worked great. I'm really happy with how this one turned out.

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 Pinning all the EL wire before stitching onto the fabric.

Pinning all the EL wire before stitching onto the fabric.

 Threading the EL wire through the lining to hide sections of it.

Threading the EL wire through the lining to hide sections of it.

LilyTiny Sparkling Stocking

The last of the three involved a little more construction and time, but it is my favorite. This stocking has sewable electronics embedded directly onto the lining of the stocking using LilyPad pieces and conductive thread. I used a LilyPad LilyTiny, which comes with pre-set modes that will display on the LEDs hooked up to it. The beaded sequin design of this stocking was perfect for some white LEDs to shine and twinkle through.

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 Fritzing diagram for the hardware hookup.

Fritzing diagram for the hardware hookup.

 Prototyping with LilyPad pieces before sewing into the projects. Alligator clips are a great way to quickly test your connections before committing to stitching.

Prototyping with LilyPad pieces before sewing into the projects. Alligator clips are a great way to quickly test your connections before committing to stitching.

 Conductive thread connections.

Conductive thread connections.

Sparkling stocking with LilyPad LilyTiny and LEDs.

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