This Tech Swimsuit Will Make You Glow Like Magic #WearableWednesday #Wearabletech
Just because summer is over for those of us on the east coast, doesn’t mean that we can’t start planning next year’s swimsuit. I found this inspiring bikini, Under the Sea, created by three students at the School of Design, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Although the video shows off the suit’s finest quality, the fact the LEDs work underwater (woot!), there’s some other details to mention. The LEDs were arranged with natural fabric to mimic shells, and in this case I picture the speckled scallop shells that I sometimes find on the beach. A Lilypad Arduino microcontroller in conjunction with a soil moisture sensor allows the LEDs to react to water, giving the suit its mysterious slow blink.
Of course the real question is how this suit’s electronics are waterproof. One of my theories is that the LEDs are actually the tiny Wire Light LED Strands that have silver wires coated with epoxy. They are supposed to be waterproof, and with their battery holder removed, they could be paired with the right resistor combination to an Arduino. Another possibility is that LEDs are encased in resin, much like what our own Erin St. Blaine does for her LED infused mermaid costume. A small waterproof project box would still be needed and perhaps some coating with a hydrophobic spray just to be safe. No matter what the method, hiding a small box on a swimsuit is definitely tricky! In fact, I noticed that the video shows this suit only partially underwater, so perhaps the students didn’t chance their main electronics getting wet. Either way, it’s a great project that hopefully will inspire others to create illuminated wet wear.
If you want to get started on a small project dealing with waterproofed electronics, you should check out our learning guide on the Galaxy Pendant. It looks like a bodacious blinking jewel, but it can handle underwater adventures and other tough brigades thanks to its resin construction. So, pick up another maker skill and have fun exploring how to take your electronics to another level.
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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.