AdaFruit Flora Challenge - Early thoughts,Hearts and Tattoos

The other seven people who are taking part in  the AdaFruit Flora Challenge are probably writing their first blog posts and discussing bits,bytes,shift registers,resistance,current and lots of other technical stuff.  Don’t worry I will get on to that but for now I wanted to talk about the more creative side of my project.

The Challenge asked  for technology that helps people get that much closer. 

Looking at my proposal I wrote:

The device that i am proposing is a piece of wearable technology, that can display a response to a question or a poll. Or a recommendation of a exhibit or gallery.  

It will display the response in a abstract but recognisable way. Maybe a colour or a pattern that is  closely associated with the exhibit or gallery.

This would help people to select what they should visit within the museum.

It will bring people together by starting conversations and debates between people who they can see have similar or opposing views to their own.

Looking at both things like that, it looks quite a big ask.  That seems a lot to achieve with just a Arduino board and some LEDs.

So my basic thought is to have a piece of clothing that would have have LEDs sewn into it in an interesting ways. The LEDs would be grouped to show a abstract  representation of the gallery or exhibits.

There would be two transducers on this piece of clothing one would be a sensor to interact with the exhibit (I’m saying exhibit to stay general it could be an individual object,through to an entire gallery).

The other would be some form of communication to transmit your pattern of likes to both the internet and to other people.

I went down a couple of dead ends,before coming up with the idea that I am pursuing.

I thought of various devices that could be used. one of my favourite early ideas was to have some sort of plushy toy, that could interact with other ones. Themes would be possible the Natural History Museum could have Dippy the Dinosaurs that  could kiss to share, the Science Museum could have cogs that mesh to share and the V & A could have  vases to do something.  Really started to run out of ideas there at the end.

What that made me realise was although I had come up with good individual ideas there wasn’t a strong theme to tie them together and make it suitable for use rather than just a couple of museums.

At some point the phrase “Wear your heart on your sleeve" popped into my head and stuck there and it was this that I decided to pursue.

When I think of Sleeves, its these beautiful tattoo sleeves I think of






When I think of images of the Heart I find the anatomical images much more interesting than the normal two round bumps and a pointy bit  images.




So these are the things I’ve had in my head. Tonight I started sketching some random ideas on paper which started to evolve into early prototypes and began to think of some of the practicalities of the wearable part of the project.

But that is enough for tonight I’ll post those images and my thoughts about that hopefully tomorrow.

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