Sometimes you just get sick of all those buttons — that’s what Alina Balean and Rucha Patwardhan decided when they created the ultimate Smart Hoodie. The two took a course at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program that got them thinking about ways a sweater could become a cell phone. Alina describes the process that began once she discovered the power of an Arduino and a GSM shield .
The first switch was put into the left sleeve and sent messages to my Facebook account – notifying my friends that I was in class. After that we tested switches with the hoodie and other sleeve. I, personally, have a fascination with removing buttons from as many devices as possible and replacing them with gestures that we do or are memorized.
One of the challenges faced was the problem of a failed tilt switch. However, they quickly solved the problem by using capacitive sensing with stitches on the side of the hoodie. They also incorporated a Lilypad push botton that uses simple high and low triggers to push the texts, which have preset numbers and messages. The best part about the project is witnessing how the gestures morphed.
Currently the hoodie sends texts to my mom notifying her of what I’m up to while at school. If I roll up my sleeves, it tells her I am in class and can’t talk. If I put my hoodie on, it tells her that I miss her, and if I push the right sleeve, it lets her know I am free and can chat online.
I’m sure there are a lot of mothers that wish they had technically inclined daughters yearning to stay in touch like this. For Alina and Rucha, the project is still continuing as they look for ways to add more capabilities and gestures, while also reducing the size of the circuit. Check out more details and photos on Alina’s blog. Then, start with an easy project of your own like our Texting Pet Food Dish.
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