DIY Wearable Electronics Project

In a maker space, we get to work with different tools, but somehow I have always been partial to electronics. There is so much you can do with it. From voice-controlled lamps, walking pianos, robots, all the cool Arduino based projects and now to even things you can wear. That is something I wanted to explore this time- Wearable Electronics.

It has been around for a while, and has many ideas, projects and inspiration already on the Web, but it is still a relatively new and exciting  field. It includes fashion accessories, smart electronic devices, wearable devices and so much more. Think about Gym Wear that records real time data- your heartbeat, perspiration rate, breathing, or Safety Devices for women. Endless possibilities. But I chose to start small and picked up a basic wearable electronics project- something that even kids could do or people who make their own cosplay costumes- ‘A glove that lights up when you clench your fist.’ Sounds cool. Doesn’t it?

So let’s get started. Here is all the material you would need:

  • Glove
  • Resistors 10 kohm and 220ohm
  • Conductive thread
  • 5xFlex sensor
  • Arduino lilypad
  • Arduino UNO
  • Jumper cables
  • Screw driver
  • A computer with Arduino IDE software
  • LED lights
  • Lilypad power supply
  • AAA battery
  • Needle

Arduino Lilypad 

This Arduino is specifically designed for e-textiles and wearable projects and thus my obvious choice.  It can be sewn to fabric and similarly to mounted power supplies, sensors and actuators with conductive thread.

Let’s look at all the steps now.

Step-1: Upload the code on Arduino Lilypad 

Upload the code on Arduino lilypad. Arduino lilypad doesn’t work like a normal Arduino. It doesn’t have any USB port to upload code directly, so we’ll need a FTDI module to upload the code or you can also upload the code with an Arduino UNO

Here is the easiest way to upload the code if you don’t have FTDI module ….

  • Remove microcontroller chip from Arduino UNO
  • Connect Arduino lilypad to Arduino UNO
  • Use following schematic to make connection
Arduino UNO – Remove the Microcontroller chip

 

Schematics

Connections

  • Arduino UNO’s Pin 0(RX) ==> Fourth pin of Lilypad Arduino
  • Arduino UNO’s Pin 1(TX) ==> Fifth pin of Lilypad Arduino
  • Arduino UNO’s GND ==> First and Secondpins of Lilypad Arduino
  • Arduino UNO’s 5V ==> Third pin of Lilypad Arduino
  • Arduino UNO’s RESET ==> Sixth pin of Lilypad Arduino

To upload the code

  • Open Arduino IDE
  • Select the right port
  • Go to tools >> Boards >> Select lilypad Arduino
  • Processor>>select ATmega328P 

You can download the code from here:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1mBBbDnZNcL4eT3Y3uMJ5TpSKY9D0v6z4

Step-2

Now you will need a glove (or if you wish, you could stitch one!), 5x flex sensor, 5x LED, some resistor, Arduino lilypad , power supply and conductive thread.

You will need conductive thread to sew all the electronic component on the glove and to make connections as well. However, I didn’t have conductive thread when I did the project so I used normal wires instead.

Picture4
Looks a bit messy with all the wires

Use following schematic to make connections

Picture3
Schematics

 

And that’s it, your first wearable electronics product is ready! Switch on the Power Supply and move your fingers to watch the LED glow!

Picture5
The final product!

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