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A Complicated Ugly Xmas Sweater #WearableWednesday


Students at Philadelphia University teamed up and transformed a truly beat sweater into a cheerful ugly sweater for the holidays. Believe it or not, this sweater was once a white pullover, and the reason I’m calling it complicated is because it has so many features. On the back is a classic LED sequin tree, on the front is temperature reacting buttons, and the shoulders hide some flex sensors which trigger piezo Christmas carols. That’s what I call a good time! Of course there were some minor issues along the way on the journey of learning about wearable tech. One of their first lessons was to make sure to install the drivers for the PC version of Flora Arduino. Here’s another lesson—conductive thread.

This video shows part of the buttons lighting up, and I’m sure if the students just re-visit their conductive thread lines, they’ll find the short. Also, it could be as simple as a knot starting to fray, which is why I’m a big believer in sealing knots along the way with clear nail polish. The fact that they thought of making the buttons respond to temperature already gives them an “A” in my book.

Apparently they were not completely happy with the stiffness of the shoulder pads, which were originally added as mounts for what they thought would be heavy parts. Turns out they work nicely with the flex sensors and they were able to keep the pads down by the Flora microcontroller and battery pack mounted near the back. Great work on translating Christmas carols into piezo friendly tunes, too!


For more details on the build, you can check out the blogs of Valerie Gibbins and Matt Wiegle. Another shout-out to Carl Stanton who was also part of the project. Hope the grades show all of you as merry and bright! Just a reminder to everyone how important it is to document your work, not only for others to learn, but to uphold the open source hardware community. Also, if you want to start blinging out a sweater for another holiday, like Valentine’s Day, you should definitely get our GEMMA Sequin Starter Pack. GEMMA is the smallest of our stitchable microcontrollers and with plenty of code available, you can have a blinking heart in no time. Send us your photos of your sweater in a romantic restaurant.


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!

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