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March 11, 2015 AT 1:00 am

Vintage Britney Spears T-shirt Turns MP3 Player #WearableWednesday

Okay, Britney fans, come out of the closet with this fun project! That’s right, the buttons on this t-shirt activate your fave Britney tunes (or whatever tunes you like). This fun design comes from my friend, Lavon Phillips, at SoHa SMART in New Jersey. If you don’t know this cool space, the SMART stands for Space for Makers, Artisans, Revolutionists and Techies. They seriously just include everyone there, and there’s usually a zany movie reference to be had, whether it’s on their Facebook posts or their website. Anyway, they are just over the top with excitement for their first ever NJ Maker Day coming up on March 21st, and that’s what inspired this project.

The idea was to re-imagine a 2001 t-shirt into something that combines pop culture with wearables. I think they’ve done a fine job, and I’d like to point out some things I’m liking. First, they are using a Lilypad Arduino MP3 Microcontroller, which packs everything in a nice small space. Also, the play buttons on the top of the shirt nicely follow the line of the Britney lettering and add a punch of color, without being too obtrusive. They also have a vintage look, which is a nice design choice, considering they could have gone with conductive fabric or a keypad style. Not to get all metaphorical here, but you could also draw some conclusions about the idea of the body used as a machine. However, I’ll let you decide. You probably noticed that they’ve used wire instead of conductive thread. With a stretchy fabric like jersey, you have to worry about the fabric dealing with stitches, and you also have to worry about contact with the skin, unless you wear a shirt underneath. So, wire is a smart choice and will be better in preventing shorts, and also keep things dry when the concert get sweaty. Finally, they’ve got a nifty flexible speaker pinned in the sleeve, which I’m sure they will later attach. Speakers can be tricky because they often need a boost of power, however, for this prototype it seems like they’ve got it under control.

I’m really proud of my friends at SoHa SMART, and soon I’ll be giving a wearables demo with them in April. More on that closer to the date. Just know that they have awesome classes for makers of all sizes. Speaking of making, if you like the Britney t-shirt, you might want to check out our Sound Sample Sweater. The Audio FX Sound Board doesn’t need a microcontroller, so it’s pretty basic. Just opt for the sound board with more storage if you want to do tunes, rather than sound effects. You’ll be annoying your friends with your fave star in no time–sooo much fun.


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