Intro to Wearables: Week 3

The assignment this week is to create a garment that expresses messages to people around you. I was struggling a bit with the ideation because, once again, I wanted to do something that is practical and doesn’t focus only on the concept but I found it really difficult for that because the ideas I had in mind were mostly really conceptual. I decided to go with the idea I wanted to do the most even if it cannot be used in real life at all. I realized that if I limit myself by caring too much about “making sense” then there’d be no point in doing this since I couldn’t really express my thoughts as I wanted to.

I decided to create a headpiece that protects the wearers from their surroundings. This headpiece looks just like a scarf or a neck accessory in its normal state and, depending on the wearers’ decisions, with the use of muscle wires, it will expand and become a shield-like headpiece that prevent people to interact or get close to the wearers. This head piece is inspired by Winnie Yoe’s ‘Confrontation for Introverts’ workshop where one of the participants created a helmet that prevented people from seeing her face. The head piece I created is for the wearers to send out the message and let people know that they want to be left alone or they don’t want any accompany at the moment.

I tested out Shape Memory wires (4 wires at a time) and they were working perfectly when I connected them with Arduino using male to male wires and conductive tape. I then sewed 8 wires to the fabric and used conductive thread to create the circuit. Unfortunately it didn’t work when I plug the headpiece into the Arduino. There was spark and flame and then my Arduino shut down and I was too afraid to try again. I figured it might be that the 5V was not enough to heat up 8 wires at the same time? I then switched to 11V battery but again it didn’t work. The wires didn’t get hot at all. In the end I needed to use a hair dryer to heat the wires up to get them back in the programmed shape since I didn’t have enough time to look for a more powerful power supply. I also haven’t installed an on-off button/switch for this headpiece too.

This headpiece looks pretty nice in my opinion! My next step is to try to find a way to make this work with battery since I wanted it wireless and I also don’t wanna risk breaking my Arduino again. I will also need to install a switch that will control when the current can pass through the wires.

Intro to Wearable: Week 2

The second assignment is to create new senses trough wearables. At first, I couldn’t really grasp the idea of the the word ‘new sense’ and I was mostly thinking about supernatural thing like ‘seeing a ghost’ and ’reading another person’s feelings’. After I asked around and talked with several people in the class, I finally learned that it can be something as simple as ‘sense of direction’ or ‘sensing the weather’. I then spent a lot of time thinking about how I can make something that would be useful for me in real life and is also not to ambitious for me to finish in a week. 

Since I’ve been having a lot of arguments with my girlfriend lately, I wanted to make something that’d help improving our relationship. One thing that has always been a problem between us is that she thinks I’m always being too loud and I always yell at her every time we’re in a fight (which I beg to differ). I think it’s really hard to tell if you’re being too loud or not when you’re the one speaking? That’s why I thought that a wearable that is able to detect the volume of your voice and let you know if you’re being loud would be a nice fix for my habit.

I decided to create a small device that you can put anywhere (inside a hat, a bra, a pocket, etc.) and it will detect the volume of your voice and vibrate if your voice goes above the threshold. I used Aadfruit Flora, a microphone and a vibration motor for this.

I was trying to use conductive thread since I wanted to practice designing soft circuit diagram but ended up soldering everything together because the transistor and the resistor was difficult to sew. After that I sew Flora on to a piece of fabric to make it look like a small packet. For the code, I had some problems taking readings from microphone at first volume but could make it work in the end with helps from David.

This works perfectly! I had some friends put it in their caps/pockets and started yelling at me. They said they could sense the vibration even it feels subtle sometimes.

For the next step, if I decide to continue working on this, I’d like to attach self-adhesive fabric to one side of the packet so that it’s easier to stick it to your choice of clothing.

Here is the code I used for this.

const int motorPin = 6;
int micVal = 0;

void setup() {
Serial.begin (9600);
pinMode(motorPin, OUTPUT);

void loop() {
// Serial.println(micVal);

float micVol = 0;
float micLoudness = 0;
float updateMicVol = 0;
float prevMicVol = 0;
float loud = 0;

for(int i=0; i < 200; i++) {
micVol = analogRead(A9);
loud = abs(prevMicVol – micVol);
micLoudness += loud;
prevMicVol = micVol;

updateMicVol = micLoudness / 200;

if (updateMicVol > 200) {
digitalWrite(motorPin, HIGH);
digitalWrite(motorPin, HIGH);
digitalWrite(motorPin, LOW);


Intro to Wearables: Week 1

The assignment this week is to create a soft circuit with 2 LEDs. I wanted to make something that is practical but couldn’t think of a way to apply lights into a piece of clothing that would make it useful and desirable at the same time. It’s really hard to imagine a situation where I would wanna wear a light up clothing. I finally decided to make a collar for pets instead! You’ll be able to easily find your cute pet at night with this light up collar.

I used a piece of black leather to make the collar. It took really long for me to finish since the leather was so stiff and I broke about 4-5 needles along the process 😦 I also couldn’t find a nice way to make a battery holder since the collar is really thin width-wise so it was impossible to make a little pocket for it. In the end I just used the thread to hold the battery in place.

Pet Collar