The story begins with my maker friend, Jinger, giving me a kimono to “Kittify”. The fabric has a beautiful cherry blossom print. I’d been thinking about how to transform it into a techfashion piece while trying some new technology.
Then I remembered Versalume’s lasers. They are lasing in visible colors (at much more visually appealing wavelengths then the lasers I work with in research labs) and are super bright. With a diffused optical fiber connected to the laser, the light leaks out of the fiber, so the whole fiber lights up. If you’ve seen my other projects and my website, you know that I’ve been using LEDs and optical fibers quite a bit. But these commonly used LED+optical fibers normally emit light at the fibers’ tips. One needs to rub the fibers with sandpaper or use diffused fibers to get some light out from the sides. But they are much dimmer.
Also, I’ve been wondering how these laser+fibers are different from EL wires. I decided to give it a try. Turned out they are sooooo much softer, thinner and brighter than EL wires. They are completely visible under bright sun light. Thus, you don’t have to make an outfit/decor that only works in the dark.
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.