Prototyping New Wearable Experiences with Soft Electronics and Arduinos

Prototyping New Wearable Experiences with Soft Electronics and Arduinos

In the center of today’s maker movement is the Arduino micro-controller, and there are various body-friendly form factors that can be used to prototype your next wearables idea.

In this tutorial, we will explore the capabilities of the Arduino LilyPad (along with other micro-controller platforms such as the Adafruit FLORA and the MaKeyMaKey) via several hands-on stations. Each station will display examples of prototypes created with these technologies and a breakdown of how they were created.

Learn how to embed off-the-shelf electronic components into clothing to create unique user experiences that can be applied to gaming, storytelling, healthcare, and much more. Investigate how to best construct these “soft circuits” by exploring a sampling of conductive materials and construction techniques.

If you wish, you may bring your own laptop to download and run sample Arduino code that can be hooked up to some of the prototypes.

Everyone is an inventor, and if we are to believe that the third industrial revolution is about “mass customization,” then the next wave of wearables will start off as one-off prototypes or small batch productions geared toward specific industry verticals.

This tutorial is for any practitioners who may feel limited by the current consumer wearables trend toward the bracelet/watch form factor and are looking for alternative or full-body options for wearables.

Previous exposure to the Arduino platform is assumed. If you wish to run the sample code, please come with a laptop preinstalled with the Arduino IDE (downloadable here: http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Software) and any required FTDI VCP Drivers (downloadable here: http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm).

The Adafruit FLORA and GEMMA both require modified versions of the Arduino IDE. Please also download and install both of these IDEs from Adafruit: (1) http://learn.adafruit.com/getting-started-with-flora/download-software and (2) http://learn.adafruit.com/introducing-gemma/setting-up-with-arduino-ide.

Please note attendance will be capped at 40 for this tutorial.

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Pearl Chen

March 05, 2014
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