Faschionism did a great feature on Adafruit’s wearables department called “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star“. We love it when people who were not previously into electronics get started with our tutorials and learn system!
I’ve loved science fiction and cyberpunk for as long as I can remember, and while I am primarily a book geek I have a huge soft spot for futuristic films and their fashion. There’s just something about the intersection of style and the utilitarian that gets me every time; lycra catsuits masquerading as smart fabric, aggressive silhouettes, the open guts of technology next to careful seams and tucks. With that in mind it’s not at all surprising that I fell head over heals for Anouk Wipprecht’s Spiderdress . I was a teenager in the 90’s and so cannot be swayed by mood rings or heat reactive fabrics, but the Spiderdress was the kind of thing that I’d been dreaming of for years.
It’s also not available for purchase (I suspect the price would make me faint even if it was) and much too far out of my skill range to re-create.
Fast forward through the visions of me intermittently sobbing and screaming at YouTube all the way to 2013 when Adafruit launched FLORA, their first wearable electronics platform. While it doesn’t mean that I can build creepy robot legs to keep people away from me, the components (batteries aside) are entirely waterproof which makes them functional for everyday use as you can wash whatever you make without having to take it apart first. While the pieces are on the whole purchased separately rather than in kits, Adafruit have a range of really interesting projects and suggestions on their website.
Each project comes with a full tutorial including circuit diagrams and the code required to make it work, they even include notes on which parts to change and how for different effects. What I consider to be the most exciting bit is that a reasonable number of the projects don’t require any soldering since all the components can be connected with conductive thread. FLORA is not branded in pink and nothing in the comprehensive guides makes me feel stupid for not knowing some of the basic skills for working with electronics such as, for example, how to solder. But the real clincher for me was that it’s all marketed as awesome. Even the basic projects look great, the Space Face LED Galaxy Makeup would look fabulous with anything in nebula print and I’ve got my eye on the Sparkle Skirt Project.
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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.