In the future, our clothes will replace our devices. They will light up with social media alerts, producing holograms to read those updates wherever we choose. We’ll never need to remember umbrellas or coats again either — sensors will read humidity levels and tell the conductive fibres of our customised 3D-printed clothes to release waterproof chemicals, while a shift in their nanoparticles will pull fibres together for insulation. Sensors will send our biometric data to doctors, while the antibacterial fabrics protect us from viruses.
These are most definitely designs of the future but that future is not so distant: all these technologies exist in some form today. Products like Google Glass and Apple’s rumoured iWatch represent the early stages of the wearable technology market, a market that Credit Suisse has predicted will have “a significant and pervasive impact on the economy”. The “mega trend” stands to be worth up to $50 billion over the next three to five years, fuelled by the wellness and fitness sector and advances in battery and sensor technology. However, unless these technologies converge with the fashion industry, there’s a danger they will fail to become popularised and remain unaffordable.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.