Wearable NeoPixel Bike Lights with #GEMMA #WearableWednesday

Wearable NeoPixel bike lights with GEMMA!

I’ve wanted to play with Adafruit’s NeoPixels for a while now. They’re great little devices, available in a number of form factors for sewing into wearables, mounting on breadboards, or epoxying as strips. Each NeoPixel contains red, green and blue LEDs giving 24-bit colour, and a built-in driver chip which provides a one-wire interface for a microcontroller. Unlike the common analog 12v LED strips, NeoPixels are driven at 5v, giving you more options for powering them in wearables projects.

For my project I decided I wanted to replace my bike lights – I’m always forgetting them, or leaving them on the bike and draining the batteries. I figured I could use NeoPixels to build lights into my messenger bag which I always have with me when I’m cycling.

I decided to go with the 30 pixels per meter weatherproof strip as high resolution wasn’t necessary for the ‘Knight Rider’ effect I wanted to achieve. In retrospect I should have gone for the black backing to make it blend in with the bag’s strap. It also remains to be seen how robust the strips are in the long run, and whether sewable pixels would have been a better choice, but after a month of careful wear everything is still in good shape.

I initially sewed the straps on with thread, but there was too much movement in the strap when worn and the thread cut in. Elastic was a better choice and I swapped the thread out in a couple of key places. The ends of the NeoPixel strip are sealed with hot glue and a capacitor added to smooth out the power-on, also sealed in some heatshrink so the whole thing should stand up to cycling through showers. A 4AA battery pack of rechargeables is concealed in the bag with a superglued guard to stop the power switch being knocked.

The controller is the Adafruit Gemma – a beautiful little Arduino board made for wearables projects. As suggested I used tiny snaps to handle the connections to the board, and secured it tightly with sticky-back velcro. Programming the Gemma is no different from any other Arduino board – you just have fewer pins and less memory. Adafruit distribute a helpful Arduino library for NeoPixels which makes interfacing really easy. Included below is my code to achieve the dual red and white effect. If you want to use it in your own projects I’ve made it available as a Gist.

Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!

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.

Join 32,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org

Maker Business — Foxconn executive discusses the dramatically scaled back project in Wisconsin

Wearables — Look sharp with this quick tip!

Electronics — Straw Diffusers

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: MicroPython 1.19 released and more! #Python #CircuitPython @micropython @ThePSF

Adafruit IoT Monthly — eInk Postcard, VR Spectrum Instrumentation, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — New Prods 6/22/22 Feat. ADS1115 16-Bit ADC – 4 Channel w. Programmable Gain Amplifier – STEMMA QT!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.