The Vazquez family is basically your fairy tale family. The mother, Silvia, is a seamstress, while her son, Julio is a mechatronics engineer. Together they decided to make an amazing dress for Julio’s sister, who would be attending a dance. Of course all the girls in the class wanted to have the same style dress, but the Vazquez family made sure that their dress would stand out. They created an off the shoulder blue ballgown with reactive LEDs, making this girl sparktacular.
Like all fairytale gown stories, this one gets complicated dealing with LEDs, voltage and battery power. Originally the dress was to have moving butterflies, LED embedded roses and LEDs in the skirt. Gradually things became more simplified as Julio researched hardware and it’s limitations. He ended up using an Arduino Pro Mini and hand crafted groups of LEDs for the skirt in order to stay within the power parameters. Through running battery tests he eventually still had to limit the number of LEDs, which is understandable, because whenever you run wire or conductive thread a long distance you have to contend with resistance. Although Silvia and Julio may have been frustrated with the downsizing of electronics, it is often the case that simpler is better. The finished gown not only adds sparkle thanks to an accelerometer, but it makes sure the attention is also in the right place–the beaming face of the sister. That’s what I call a great design, and you can check out their story on Hackster.io. If you are ready to hack your gown for a prom or event, you should definitely take a look at our Sparkle Skirt Learning Guide. It takes all the guess work out of the equation and teaches you how to add a FLORA microcontroller, an accelerometer/compass module and some NeoPixels for some glowy fun. You’ve got this one, now work on those dance moves.
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.