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This Beautiful Tech Shirt Has Touch Lights #WearableWednesday


Tiered garments can look so elegant, and this particular shirt by Yuchen Zhang is a flowing cascade of white with a modern zing of sporty mesh fabric. However, it’s what lies under the layers that is exciting—LEDs. A touch on the back portion of any tier will bring about illumination on this fashion well named, Illuminate. Although plenty of people choose to work with LEDs, I have seen Yuchen’s work previously and knew she would have an interesting design premise. Here’s what she had to say.

I got the inspiration for Illuminate when I was doing research around how air pollution could impact people’s mental state and how clothing design should adapt based on air pollution. One observation I took away from being in heavy air pollution is that we could not see other people well and their interactions with each other because visibility is low.  However seeing other people interact with each other is one of the joys of being a social being. Therefore, I wanted to highlight that physical interaction with the help of technology in low visibility environments such as air pollution and low lighting settings such as night time.

Yuchen chose our FLORA microcontroller and a Capacitive Touch Sensor Breakout for triggering the LED sequins on this piece. The electronics are nicely hidden and there is a great use of conductive ribbon on the mesh which allow for the capacitive touch ability. Another advantage to using conductive ribbon is that it facilitates attaching LEDs; more stitching can be done by machine with only minor hand sewing.

Illuminate Parts

It’s nice to see Yuchen’s work growing and it sounds as though she may be doing more on this theme.

A simple pat on the back can comfort far more than verbal or text communication. I want to use technology to highlight the power of these physical interactions.

My vision is to make a series of garments that incorporate smart, responsive textiles to highlight the intimate physical gestures that we use to communicate non-verbally.

Touch can be an interesting addition to any wearable project and it’s easy to incorporate using our Capacitive Touch Sensor Breakout. The board can allow for up to twelve individual touch pads and also has a built-in LED so you can monitor when touch is happening. So, get ready to add some mystique to your project, and don’t forget to post pics on our forum so we can see what you made!

Touch Sensor

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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