How to Make Awkward Electronics Stitchable #WearableWednesday #Wearabletech #DIY
I’m always looking for better ways of doing things, and one of those things is converting electronics into easy-to-use items for soft circuits. I hit the jackpot recently when Maria Castellanos Vicente posted an update on her Facebook about a recent workshop held at LABoral Centro de Arte in Spain. She and her friend Alberto Valverde Garcia encouraged attendees to create garments with light and temperature sensing capability. If those names sound familiar, it’s because they belong to the duo that created one of my most beloved projects ever—the Environment Dress. It’s no surprise that they would want to monitor even more environmental conditions.
So, the obvious thing to note with their circuit design for this workshop is the use of coiled wire extensions which are soldered onto through-hole mounts. This easy hack allows almost anything to become stitchable with conductive thread. Plus, adding a few stitches of regular thread on the mount holes adds stability for larger components.
It’s always a good idea to breadboard before moving on to stitching, and in this case it’s nice to see the illuminated OLED display showing data from the sensors. For a wearable, a display can become a real conversation starter! The finished stitched circuits look quite elegant, and that is partially due to the templates provided by Maria and Alberto, which appear to be laser cut. Of course, mindful stitching helps.
A big thanks to Maria for her pro tips on electronics. If you would like to learn more tricks about stitching soft circuits, you should grab a copy of our book Getting Started with Adafruit FLORA. You’ll begin with basic projects to hack LEDs in clothing and then expand to the FLORA microcontroller and its many sensors. There’s helpful tips on using conductive thread as well as sewing, so it’s perfect for any tech crafting wannabe.
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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.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.