My Top Five of Wearable Tech for 2016 #WearableWednesday #wearabletech #Arduino #DIY

It’s that time of year when I reflect on the wearables that I’ve seen in the past twelve months and choose the ones that are most memorable. My list is different from the click bait you’ll find on the rest of the web because I’m not looking at battles between smartwatches, but instead those projects that are coming from DIYers like you that are filled with passion (or filled with crazy reasons why you have been forced to do something). Let’s get to it!

#5 Skintillates Tech Tattoos

Skintillates Tech Tattoos

Many people have attempted to combine LEDs, sensors and tattoos, but I don’t think they’ve been as artistic as these Skintillates from University of California Berkeley. Hybrid Ecologies Lab used silver ink traces silk screened on temporary tattoo paper to make this process accessible. Their work is not only gorgeous, but also examines public and private displays of technology. This project also represents the quest for the seamless interface; embedded electronics is happening and it will be interesting to see what 2017 brings.

#4 Star Wars Droidish Helmets

Star Wars will always be a classic, and although I’ve seen some great cosplay outfits, these droid speaking helmets are one of my faves. Created by Minimum Effective Dose in Edmonton, Canada, these Star Wars Droid Translator Helmets are the perfect thing for parties because they conceal your voice and emit “droidish”. So, you can speak softly to your partner in the other helmet like normal, but everyone else will hear only beeps and whirs. Did I mention they also use an Adafruit Audio FX Sound Board? These are the droids you are looking for.

#3 Aquaman Style Propellers

Just revisiting this post makes me smile because this Arduino project is all about living the dream of an underwater superhero. It’s nice to have fins, but it’s even better to have power assists on your wrists ready to pull you through the water. These Hydro Fists were made by Peter Sripol and use Blue Robotics T100 Thrusters. The underwater selfie shots definitely add to the dream.

#2 Tech Dress as a Diary

Diary Dress Tech CU

My Heart on My Dress by Jingwen Zhu gets literal about the question of what you are wearing. The dress transforms into a live feed diary with symbols changing color through the use of thermochromatic ink. The dress uses an Adafruit FLORA microcontroller with its matching Bluefruit LE module and heating pads. The project gets my respect for Jingwen’s original PCB designs as well as her intriguing journal style. We are becoming a visual society and this dress makes me wonder what is next after emojis and icons.

#1 Amazing Cosplay Wings

Cosplay Animatronic Wings

Hellooo number one project for 2016! These animatronic wings were created by Nelson Stoldt for his daughter, who absolutely had to be Nightmare Moon for a cosplay competition. There is so much to love here, from the scissor mechanism to the smart curved back plate and the hand made outer feathers. Speaking of feathers, just getting the wings to truly open feather by feather like a bird is an impressive feat. The daughter walked away with the grand prize, but the best part is that this project brought the entire family together. Make sure you check out the family’s blog, and then start mind-mapping what your project might be for the new year. I know I’ll be looking at ways to bring people together in my work. Stay inspired and keep making!

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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