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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Pokémon Go EL Projects

Many of us at work have been geeking out over Pokémon Go and I got permission to make a tutorial and a bunch of showcase projects combining my love of the game with some EL panels. Go read all about it over on the SparkFun blog.

Special thanks to my friend Geoff Decker of Hidden Vision Photography who took all the awesome photos for the blog.

Photo courtesy of Geoff Decker of  Hidden Vision Photography

Photo courtesy of Geoff Decker of Hidden Vision Photography

DIY Tech Footwear Round-Up

Lately there are an increasing number of shoes on the market that incorporate technology, from running shoes that sync with your iPod to high fashion illuminated heels. Here are a few cool tutorials that show you how to build your own tech-infused footwear.

Light Up and Glowing Shoes

DIY Flashing Shoes

Image via  Instructables

Image via Instructables

This Instructable shows you how to repurpose the electronics from a pair of kid’s light up shoes and put them into your favorite pair of sneakers.

LED Shoes

Image via  Instructables

Image via Instructables

Another pair of LED shoes, this tutorial has you build the circuit from scratch using conductive thread, LED sequin beads and puff paint (for insulation and decoration). Metal snaps in the tongue creates an on/off switch.

Rodarte Style Light Up Heels

Image via  I Heart Switch

Image via I Heart Switch

Alison Lewis of I Heart Switch shows you how to achieve a look inspired by Rodarte’s high fashion light up heels.

El Wire Shoes

http://blip.tv/play/gfkN7cpIAg

Diana Eng’s book Fashion Geek has a project that uses electroluminescent wire instead of LEDs to add some glow to your footwear.

Sound

Get Smart Shoe Phone

Image via  Instructables

Image via Instructables

Honestly, who doesn’t want to make a shoe phone? Instructables member gardners has a series of Get Smart projects that look like a lot of fun. This one uses a mobile phone and bluetooth headset.

Beat Sneaks: Musical MIDI Shoes

Using force sensitive resistors and an Arduino, these cool sneakers translate your toe-tapping into triggers for sounds.

Motion/Other Interactions

Power Laces: The Auto Lacing Shoe

I love these ‘Back to the Future’ inspired sneakers that have been getting a lot of press lately. Great use of a servo and zip ties!

Joy Slippers

Image via  Instructables

Image via Instructables

Hannah Perner-Wilson’s tutorial uses conductive fabrics to make analog pressure sensors in custom slippers. These can then act as controllers for a drawing program in the Processing environment.

Power Generating Shoe

Image via  Instructables

Image via Instructables

This project hacks parts of a crank flashlight and places them in the heel of the shoe for a boost of power when you walk.

For more reading on technology in footwear check out: