Bringing Consumer and DIY Wearables Together #WearableWednesday
Interesting article from Caleb Kraft over at Make about the current state of Wearable tech.
Many of the current wearable technology tools accessible to DIYers rely on craft and handmade techniques to create “soft” electronics. Very few courses can say students learned how to spin their own (conductive) yarn, how to solder, and how to make their own sensors — our wearable tech classes blend traditional craft and cutting-edge technology, with lots of room for students to align themselves wherever they’re comfortable on that continuum. The devices they create are often conceptual, abstract, and sometimes purely unique fashion statements.
Commercial wearables feel more concerned about how small we can make the technology, rather than making it fit our bodies. The focus on miniaturization is made possible because of Moore’s law, which describes the alarming rate at which technology is shrinking while simultaneously gaining computing power.
We’re at an interesting point in the hype cycle of wearable tech. The curve of enthusiasm over a technology spikes at the beginning when everyone is excited about its possibilities. A myriad of inventions are created, followed by a sharp decline as we realize these so-called innovations don’t live up to the hype, like Google Glass. It’s only then that we’re able to look objectively at technologies and make useful and widely adopted products.
Happily, we are exiting the initial phase of wearables enthusiasm. Smart watches and fitness trackers are becoming commonplace instead of a fancy gimmick. Their aesthetic form is beginning to change, respecting the rules laid out by the Wearable design community. Brands like Fitbit are diverging from traditional watch designs into sleek, rounded designs like the Flex 2 that find the balance between form language and information display.
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.