Tag Archives: flora

Projects wearable

Time for a good storyboard

Well it might not be a good storyboard but its my storyboard and i’m sticking to it (Unless somebody points out a big mistake and I change it)

I have annoted each step but will put the text under each photo in case you can’t read my really bad handwriting.


Visitor walks up to a museum. Their ‘Heart on the sleeve’ is flashing randomly to show that they aren’t currently in a museum.

But as they get closer the gps chip detects that they are going into a museum or gallery that works with ‘Heart on the sleeve’ and all the LEDs go out.


As the visitor walks into the gallery that has been assigned to be ‘blue’ just the corresponding blue LEDs Flash on/off


Detected by GPS,internal wi-fi positioning both passive to visitor or if not possible then touch a coloured panel in the gallery


Objects in the Gallery all have a label on them that is a shade of the gallery colour


One or Two things can happen when object is liked, its individual LED will light up and the more objects that are liked in a gallery the brighter the centre Gallery LED will get.


The centre gallery LED is independent and can be lit by a gallery panel


Museum is full of people displaying what they like.


Not sure of mechanism,need to think.

And then displayed online in a cool way.

And that it a brief walk through of what ‘Heart on your sleeve’ actually does. complete with my Star People

Projects wearable

Woo and Quite Literally Hoo

It took a while to come,but after watching the delivery tracking website for what seemed like days on end and having to explain what a AdaFruit Flora is so the kit could be put through customs. Well after all that I now have my kit. So lets have a quick look at whats in the box


Some very boring cardboard, but at least it came well packed


Getting close now


Really close


Ta - Da


The Full Kit


The Actual AdaFruit Flora Itself


The Sewing stuff


Bags full of goodness (Mainly Sensors, the one with the brown square in the centre is the GPS)


Wires, switches,batteries. The essential stuff that could easily be forgotten.


So its all there then.  Feels like I can properly get started and start to hack and make on this project. There are a few things I want to try with the project so if you see me walking around London with lights flashing around my person, feel free to stop me and say hello. As we say up North, lets Crack on




Busy doing nothing

There has been a delay with the delivery of my AdaFruit Flora kit, looks like it was a problem with the couriers as it is being shipped from the States.

All being well it should arrive with me on Monday so starting to get properly excited about it.  Just because I haven’t had the kit doesn’t mean I haven’t been able to make some progress on the project.  Have already wirtten a couple of blog posts Here and Here .

There are some things I need to do this weekend. First of all buy a couple of nice but cheap long sleeved tops. Hopefully  only need one,but will be nice to have a spare and colour choice.

Buy some Sugru, will explain in a second.

Order some multiplexer chips.  I’m going to be needing a lot more LEDs than the AdaFruit Flora can control individually so multiplexer chips will be required. This will needs to be fixed close the the LEDs to minimise the number of wires/thread needed.  The Sugru will be used to protect the chips.

I’m going to be using a colour sensor.  I want to test it on lots of different colours in something approaching a controlled way. Will visit a DIY store and pick up a load of those paint  colour cards.

So busy weekend doing nothing

Projects wearable

Random dots turn into my first prototype

After looking at the images of tattoos that I posted yesterday and thinking about my ideas for the project I decided there was only one thing for it and that was to break out the felt tips and get something on paper.

I wasn’t too bothered exactly what i drew but I knew that just the act of putting pen to paper would help to crystallise my ideas by giving me something to look at and think about.

I knew I wanted to represent a museum gallery and exhibits in it. So I drew a circle with eight more circles around it.  I coloured the circles in and joined the small circles to the larger one. Then drew lines from the larger circles to the top of the paper imagining that the wires are the veins and arteries going to the heart.

I repeated this seven more times in different but similar patterns all on the same sheet of paper.


Its not the best photo but you get the idea.

That was when I had my first insight.  This could get really complicated. It was fairly easy to do on paper and it didn’t matter if lines crossed but doing this on a sleeve with conductive thread could be complicated and prone to failure.

Next step was to repeat the exercise but simplified the patterns to make the routing of the wiring simpler. I also drew a couple of lines in there to make me think about the wires for the power.

I could see straight away that although better than my first attempt  there would be problems. Second insight of the night, think in 3D I would be working with a sleeve so I have a cylinder not a flat plane.  This means that I can wrap wires around to make connections. Even though how I had drawn it wasn’t the best design it lead to that flash.  So decided to test my theory.

This is probably the first real prototype in that it was a physical test of an idea rather than a flat drawing. It only took a few moments to make by making a quick sketch then rolling up and sellotaping the paper, but that has probably saved me several hours testing out the same idea with LEDs and wires.

The next two things I want to think about are testing out the colour sensor and the electronics needed to control all the LEDs that I’m planning on using.

Don’t actually have my kit yet but hopefully shouldn’t  be long  now.Will post my thoughts about it when I do.


making Projects wearable

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.

making Projects technical thoughts wearable

Woo Hooo flipping good news

A few weeks ago while idly scrolling through my Twitter feed, I noticed a promoted tweet that looked a lot more interesting than the usual fare,

Two things in it really caught my eye. The first was that it was from element14.  They are better known in the U.K for their Farnell and CPC brands of electronic component suppliers, the cool and interesting thing is that they are one of the main distributor of the Raspberry PI computer which if you don’t know is a Credit card sized computer which was originally aimed at bringing computer literacy back to U.K schools but has gone wild amongst all sort of technology interested people.

The other cool thing that it mentioned was the Adafruit name. This will be a lot less well known outside more Geeky circles. AdaFruit is the company run by Limor Fried aka Ladyada to quote from her website “… create the best place online for learning electronics and making the best designed products …”

That Promoted Tweet had good provenance so well  worth a click in my book.  Turns out it was promoting a Element14 road test challenge.   Basically eight lucky people would receive a free AdaFruit Flora kit.

The AdaFruit Flora is a Arduino compatible wearable electronics platform.  To get the chance to test out one of these kits I had to submit a idea on how I could use the Flora to build a project to bring people closer.

After a think, I decided the kit would be ideal for a museum based project to prototype ideas around theme of liking exhibits,showing that you have liked them so others can see your thoughts. My thoughts are that this will bring people closer by starting conversations and debates between people who have similar or opposing views.

I’ve already started having a think about some ideas, some good and some really stupid (Lick to like - show your appreciation by licking a sensor, euugh! no thanks)

I receive my kit soon and will be blogging about the project on the element14 website. No doubt it will get a good few mentions here as well and i probably won’t shut up about it on Twitter