Exploration Journals 1-4

Journal Entries

  1. Sound and Light with the Circuit Playground Express
  2. Fabric Potentiometer
  3. Capacitive Touch and Animations
  4. Coding an RGB LED with an Arduino UNO

Journal Entry #1: Sound and Light with the CPX

For my first journal entry, I wanted to attempt a part of the product I designed for the speculative wearable assignment. For the speculative wearable, I had designed a headband that lights up and changes colour based on the sounds around the wearer, as we have access to make code and our playground express’ I wanted to try and attempt to program my CPX to do the same. To begin, I began researching the capabilities of the CPX and what is in the microcontroller. Upon researching further I found a video on how to program the playground express to react with the sound around it. The code that I created by following this video was fairly simple but within the video, I also learned how to change the brightness of the lights using the switch on the board as well as connect my board to MakeCode itself so I could view the graphs based on the data from my playground circuit and not from the website simulation.


Below are my sound graphs for the sound level detected when faced with levels of 100 and 150,  with the same music each time. I used the same music and volume level to understand how sensitive the circuit’s microphone really is to the sound around it. I immediately noticed that when using the level of 100 the lights were all lit up without any music playing yet and that the lights didn’t all light up with the sensitivity of 150 and the music playing directly beside the CPX.

DataChart from CPX (side by side).jpg

I further decided to test the sensitivity of the CPX by placing the source of the sound at 2 more points of distance (within the same room) to see how the lights would be affected by the sound.

Sound Level: 100 Sound Level: 150
100SoundLevel.jpg 150Soundlevel.jpg

Moving the playground circuit at varying locations from the music didn’t change the number of lights blinking at certain points but it did affect the data in the chart. Different locations affected the varying levels of sound at the different time sources of the playground express.  After creating the code, I played around with the sensitivity of the microphone to see which one would work best for the headband idea I had for the speculative wearable assignment. After playing around with the sensitivity level I decided the default level should be 125 just for areas in relatively low amounts of sound.

After completing this, I managed to program the playground express to light up with the sound I played around with the different light colours for different levels of sound.

This is the code I came up with:

Colour Code with Sound.jpg

I used conditional statements on the sound and the light patterns of the circuit playground express to create different patterns within the LEDs on the board. In doing this we won’t be able to see the sound “level” on the board as the lights don’t gradually move up according to the sound. Instead, the lights will all light up to a colour that signifies which sound level it is in.

Level of Sound


My first code when attempting to change the colour based on the level of sound around the circuit board only changed with three different levels so I tried another method that changes the colour to the actual sound level as the code of the colour, with the first attempt (shown above) it only changed the colour of the CPX to a navy blue even though the codes numbers varied. So trying a different method I instead set the hue value to the sound level and was able to change the colour of the lights to the value of the sound detected.



Overall this exploration was one I really enjoyed and can see myself doing stuff with in the future. I enjoy playing around with the CPX and learning the different things I can do with it. Learning what I can do with all the light settings on the CPX is something I will continue to explore in my own time. Managing to create a part of a product that I came up with for the speculative wearable assignment is something I am proud of because when coming up with my product for the assignment I assumed that an actual prototype version would be much harder to create but with the code that I learned during this exploration, I found that programming the actual lights isn’t as hard as I originally thought.


Ada, Lady. “Introducing Circuit Playground.” Adafruit Learning System, learn.adafruit.com/introducing-circuit-playground?view=all.

Core Electronics. “Sound Reactive Lights Project with Circuit Playground & MakeCode.” Youtube, 5 May 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNxQ9dT0kqY .

Journal Entry #2: Fabric Potentiometer

For my second exploration journal, I have tried to create the Fabric Potentiometer which was shown in the week 6 module. The idea of a “dial” that could change the amount of resistance going through the circuit is something that I want to explore. Using the design by KobaKant I wanted to create a volume bar so that on one side of the potentiometer the volume would be really low and on the other would be louder. I wanted to use volume instead of the tutorials use for the potentiometer to be a time sensor. I want to test the potential uses for this fabric “dial”. The original link from the presentation does link to an Instructables page but following that link brought me to a dead end as the instructable couldn’t be found. After searching in several places I was able to find an instructable that showed the uses of the time sensor bracelet and how to create one for the Arduino so I decided to apply some of the steps when creating my bracelet for the CPX. For the purposes of my experiment, I decided not to create a bracelet but just the volume sensor that I could connect to the CPX with alligator clips.

My process of drawing and assembling the circuit:

sketch.jpg  potentiometer_.jpg  potentiometer_sewn.jpg potentiometer_with_resistor.jpg


After assembling the circuit I went on to make the code. Taking the code for the pressure sensor workshop I added volume elements to each if statement to test if the volume would change at different locations on the potentiometer. This method did not end up working so I then attempted to change the volume equal to a variable that changed according to where the connection was placed.

First attempt (did not work): circuitplayground-AnalogScaleForVolume.uf2

Second Attempt (also did not work): circuitplayground-AnalogScaleForVolume2 (3).uf2

After changing the code multiple times I realized that I forgot to add a pull-up resistor to the velostat circle, once I added it I tried all the codes I had made so far and none of them were working as I wanted.


As I originally wanted to control the volume of the CPX’s programmable sounds with this potentiometer the sounds started to give me a headache after listening to them for a while so I decided to change what the potentiometer controls to the LEDs on the circuit playground express. To do so, I researched and found an article on the adafruit website about some basic codes that can be used to chang the lights on the CPX to the value of the potentiometer. Using this code my potentiometer is able to adjust the amount of lights according to where the extra piece of conductive fabric is. The lights are not always accurate to the position of the wiper on the potentiometer but it does adjust fairly well to the location of the wiper.

Final code:


Code:  circuitplayground-twist-1.uf2

Images of final potentiometer:

low potentiometer-1.jpg   medium potentiometer.jpg  high potentiometer.jpg


Barela, Anne. “Make It Change: Potentiometers.” Adafruit Learning System, 18 Sept. 2018, learn.adafruit.com/make-it-change-potentiometers/makecode.

HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT, www.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=543%C2%A0%C2%A0.

Plusea. “Time Sensing Bracelet.” Instructables , 26 Mar. 2009, www.instructables.com/Time-Sensing-Bracelet/  .

Journal Entry #3: Capacitive Touch and Animations

Since the beginning of this semester, I have been wanting to try to create different light animations on the Circuit playground express. This week I attempted to do so by also using capacitive touch to trigger the two different animations I am planning on creating.

To begin with, this project I determined which pins I would use as the touch sensors, I decided to go with A2 and A6 since they are completely opposite one another. As the pins are far away from each other I won’t need to extend the sensor beyond the pin on the board.

The animations that I wanted to try and create are essentially one of the leaves turning to red and orange and another of apples falling from a tree. With these two concepts for the animations, I went into MakeCode to begin. I created an if statement and used functions to organize the lights and patterns, this way the code wouldn’t be super long and unorganized.

As the block to set all colours kept overriding the other colours I decided to declare each and every light separately even if the colour is on every pixel, this is because I wanted to see the animation as I was coding the lights. After completing the code, I would change this back to using the single block as declaring each and every light for the same colour causes them to turn on separately.

Playing around with the code took about an hour, as I started getting really picky over the formation of how the leaves turned red and orange as I didn’t want them to turn all one after another. The final version of my code changes some leaves to red before all the green leaves have left. I attempted to add a fade when the colours change but was unable to figure out the block to do so. As we only learned how to fade an external LED with the CPX in class, I tried to find a way to do a crossfade of the CPX’s internal LEDs but was unable to find a method that worked. As a result, I picked a softer change of colours that seems more natural from yellow to orange. The softer orange ended up looking very yellow, so I changed it to the standard code for orange.

Final Animation Code: circuitplayground-Capacitive-Touch-Exploration-Journal (2).uf2

Video of animations:https://youtu.be/nq7qMGykt_4

Journal Entry #4: Coding an RGB LED with an Arduino UNO

For my last journal entry, I  wanted to figure out to use these 4 pin LEDs that I got in a box of LEDs from my local electronics store.  Once, I figure out the differences and how to code each light I want to try coding some of the LEDs myself,  with my Arduino UNO.

WhatsApp Image 2021-03-26 at 6.23.53 AM.jpeg

In the box, I bought I got two types of LEDs with 4 legs, and from what I understand I should be able to program which colour I want the LED to light up, so for this exploration journal I am going to research codes and ways I can use these LEDs and attempt to use the techniques with either my CPX or Arduino Uno. I started my exploration by trying to find the difference between the Intelligent control RGB Light is and other LEDs are, as they both look the same.

Upon researching the two LED types I couldn’t find any noticeable difference between how they will act when coded. So I decided to continue researching potential circuit setups for just the common LEDs. Most of the circuit diagrams I came upon had multiple potentiometers which I currently don’t have access to.

Screenshot 2021-03-26 065917.jpg


Then I started to look into different ways the code is made so I could find one in which we code the colours before sending the information to the Arduino and stumbled upon this circuit diagram and decided to attempt to try this set up for my common anode LED first.

Screenshot 2021-03-26 070152.jpg

The tutorial I followed used 2.2K ohm resistors, since I don’t have the same value resistor, I created them with two 1K resistors and a 220-ohm resistor on each pin that required resistors.

This is my circuit with the RGB common anode LED:

WhatsApp Image 2021-03-26 at 8.16.54 AM.jpeg


After I created my circuit I started to code the LED using the code provided on the same page as the fritzing diagram.

Link: https://johnny-five.readthedocs.io/en/stable/led-rgb-anode/#common-anode-rgb-led-arduino-uno 

After copying the code to test the LED, I realized that the code would never work with the Arduino as it needed specific files within the library of the owner which I could not access to try and understand what it does. So I began researching another method to control the RGB values of the LED.  Around this time, I started to wonder if I could use photosensors to control the value of each light, so I started researching the different ways to connect the photosensors to the LED to try this theory I had.

My photoresistor circuit (not including the 5V wire):

WhatsApp Image 2021-03-26 at 8.16.54 AM (1).jpeg

In the end, I couldn’t find anybody who had previously tried this so I decided to use codes that used potentiometers to adjust the colour led, using this code I would substitute the potentiometer for the photosensor which should essentially do the same thing as it is a type of sensor. The code that I used as a base is from this link: https://randomnerdtutorials.com/electronics-basics-how-do-rgb-leds-work/ 

The schematic diagram is also very similar to the setup I created which should help with coding my light.

Screenshot 2021-03-27 032319.jpg

Not only did the link provide the code, but it explained it easily which made it easier to understand what each part of the code does. I also stumbled upon a website that explained that the code for potentiometers and for photoresistors almost always is the exact same. You can check that link right here. (Links to an external site.)

This is the version of the code I used:

code 1_indarknessit works.jpg

With this version I was able to change the colour of the LED to the photosensor that was in darkness, I was also able to combine the colours to create purple, yellow and white when there is little to no light on all the sensors. Video Link! (the red, green and blue led’s in the background are intended to stay off, they are just there as an indicator of which photosensor controls a specific colour.)


Group 6 Skillshare: Knit Your Own Conductive Fabric



Everyone in our group had all already researched methods for making e-textiles and soft electronic components in our personal practice for this class. We wanted to show that the type of e-textile included in the course kit is not the only option. You can create e-textiles specifically for your wearable, rather than tailor your project to the constraints of what is commercially available.

Our video teaches you a very basic knitting technique so that you can make a small piece of conductive fabric. It gives you an idea of how e-textiles are made, and demonstrates the versatility of conductive knits. We want to show people with no previous fibre experience the possibilities open to you if you choose to research these techniques further.

Conductive thread (included in kit from Creatron)
Yarn – Michaels, Dollarama, and Walmart all have inexpensive yarn. For this tutorial, you want a medium yarn-it’ll have a number 4 on the wrapper-and a light colour so you can see your conductive thread.
Knitting needles – size 4mm or 5mm (US6 or US8) – available in the same stores as yarn

Note: You can use whatever yarn and needles you find lying around as long as it feels comfortable to you.

Our Tutorial Video on Youtube

We have included some links to further knitting tutorials(videos and pictures) at the end of the post if you decide to pursue these techniques further.


To make the fabric, we will be holding the conductive thread and yarn together. Just put them together and pretend it’s a single piece of yarn! When you follow the tutorial, hold the 2 strands together the whole time.

First, tie a slip knot where the part of the loop that you pull on to tighten/loosen it (the “slip” part) leads back to the ball of yarn. Place the loop on the needle with the short end in the back.
Note: Don’t pull it too tight once it’s on the needle! It should be snug enough to stay on the needle, but not tightly tied like a knot.

Next we will cast on (put stitches on the needle) – our fabric is 10 stitches wide, so we are going to put 10 stitches onto the needle.
Hold the needle with the slip knot in your left hand. Stick the right needle into the front of the loop, so that it is underneath the left needle and pointing forwards.[pic]
With your right hand, take the long part of the yarn that leads back to the ball (this is called your “working yarn”) and wrap it around the right needle as shown.[pic]
With the right needle, pull the wrap towards you, through the middle of the first loop. Now you’ll have a second loop sticking out of it – place this back on the left needle with the working yarn in back, and pull it snug.[pic]
Repeat this 8 more times, and you will have 10 stitches on the left needle.[pic]
**In the video, Joyce uses a “long tail cast on.” The written instructions and pictures show a knit cast on, and you can see a video of it here: https://tutorials.knitpicks.com/knitted-cast-on/ feel free to follow Joyce’s method in the video if you want to**

To make the fabric, we will be using the knit stitch. This is a lot like how you cast on. Stick the right needle through the front of the stitch.

Wrap it with the working yarn; then pull the new loop through the front.

But this time, slip the old loop off the tip of the left needle.
You have just made one stitch!

Repeat this across the rest of the stitches, and that’s how you knit your first row. Knitting goes from right to left, so at the end of the first row, turn your work over so the working yarn is on the right side again.

Then just repeat what you did for the first row.
Our example is 15 rows long, so you would go from right to left 15 times. You can do as many rows as you want, but we found that this size was the smallest piece of fabric you could make that still demonstrates all the applications of conductive knits.

When your piece is as long as you want it, it is time to take it off the needle. Knit 2 stitches as if it is a regular row, so that you have 2 loops on the right needle, and the rest are still on the left needle.

Now, stick the tip of the left needle into the rightmost loop on the right needle. Lift it over the loop to its left and off the tip of the right needle. You will now have 1 loop on the right needle.

Knit 1 more stitch, then lift the previous stitch over it&off the right needle as before. Repeat this across the row until only the last stitch is left on the needle.

Cut the working yarn, take the needle out of the last stitch, and thread the cut end of the yarn through the loop. Pull it tight like a knot, and your knitted conductive fabric is finished!


We used light coloured yarn so you could see the conductive thread:

But with the right colours, you can make the thread almost invisible:

You can also learn different knitting stitches to make really pretty fabric:

Why Even Do This?
We shared this tutorial as a helpful solution for making your wearables softer. By learning to craft your own fabric, you can produce custom e-textiles for your work. Knitted conductive fabrics are also extremely versatile and have many advantages over woven or commercial e-textiles. You should be able to see most of these firsthand with the sample swatch from the tutorial.

Firstly, connectors can be attached to this fabric anywhere, and even attached temporarily as you decide where to place components on your wearable.
Another example: https://www.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=1618. You can essentially use the actual fabric of your wearable as a breadboard.

The yarn hanging from the end of the fabric can be tied to a pin on your controller.

Because this fabric is stretchy, it is also resistive. The technique taught in our workshop is a good jumping-off point for further experimentation with conductive yarns, different levels of resistance in conductive fibres, and the construction of completely soft sensors. Sources:
Crochet/Knit Pressure Sensors. (2016/12). Retrived from

Crochet/Knit Pressure Sensors

Knit Stretch Sensors. (2016/03/11). Retrieved from

Knit Stretch Sensors

It is also possible to knit actuators, whether entirely out of wire as seen here: https://www.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=4465, or with the combination of conductive thread/wire we show in the video.
Connectors or wires are very easily hidden in knit fabric, which makes it possible to knit a seamless, nearly invisible actuator like the speakers above.

References (includes further info on knitting):

Kobakant DIY Wearable Tehcnology Documentation. (1999). How To Get What You Want. Retrieved from https://www.kobakant.at/DIY/

Knitted Cast On. (2009/11/30). Retrieved from https://tutorials.knitpicks.com/knitted-cast-on/

Purl Stitch. (2017/02/28). https://www.purlsoho.com/create/purl-stitch/
You will need this if you want to make the “pretty” fabric pictured earlier in the post.


Speculative Wearable

Hello everyone, my expressive wearable is a little late, but here it is.

Warming and Correctional Band


Bad posture, sore muscles, any kind of cramps can all hit you at once. I wanted to create an easy breathable accessory that can be worn on top or underneath clothing to help tackle these problems. My speculative wearable is a band that warms, and corrects simultaneously. The band can serve as just a posture correcting accessory, or a warming strap for sore muscles. But it can also do both at the same time! 


What different states does it have? 

The band can be used as… 

  1. A non warming or warming posture correction band
  2. A non warming or warming waist band 
  3. A warming band to wrap around sore muscles
  4. A heated band for menstruation 

How is it activated? 

It is activated by a button, and warms. 

How is it deactivated? 

The same button that activates it deactivates it. 

Where is it located on the body? 

The band is flexible, and meant to be very breathable. It can be positioned anywhere on the body, and moves naturally with the body’s behavior. 


This prototype is made of gauze, and tape. 


Similar Works 

Heat Pack, Large Heat Pad, Nontoxic Rice Pack, Anxiety Relief Microwaveable, Heat Therapy, Cute Head Pad, Washable Cover (n.d.). Retrieved March 17th, 2021 from https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/759416743/heat-pack-large-heat-pad-nontoxic-rice?ref=hp_rv-2 

Orliman Breathable Shoulder Posture Supporter (n.d.).  Retrieved March 17th, 2021 from https://www.orthomed.ca/orliman-breathable-shoulder-posture-supporter?gclid=Cj0KCQjw0caCBhCIARIsAGAfuMzbB6fqulIIDPEGh0g2IK6SWnZ8nCePv0583KFXFSpc5zoiseuin14aAt7HEALw_wcB

Skill Sharing Workshop – Group 3: Conductive Paint

Group Members:
Khushi Jetley – filming tutorial & process video(s)

Michael Sinn – circuit diagrams and testing

Alex Rojas – video editing

Octavian Gherghe – blog post and writing


The group decided that we wanted to orient the tutorial towards something simple that could be done without having to order anything expensive, or go out of your way to get materials. This was partially due to the pandemic making it harder to order materials, as well as not wanting to railroad students into a complicated project. With this in mind, we decided to do  DIY style workshop focused on the Unusual Materials topic that Olivia suggested.

This workshop a short video on how to make simple and cheap conductive paint from home, that you can use to create unconventional circuits or to spice up your artwork.

Materials & Tools:

  • Alligator clips / Conductive thread / Circuit wiring
  • Paint (acrylic paint was used in our examples)
  • Paintbrush
  • Salt
  • Mixing bowl
  • A medium to spread the paint on: paper, wood, etc
  • LED
  • Battery or CPX with a power cable (3V was used in the video)

Most of these materials should be available at home, but if you need to buy anything it will not be expensive or hard to get, they can be found in local stores or by online distribution. The only exotic item is the CPX if you decide to use it, but most of you will have this due to the course requisite.



  1. Pour some paint in a mixing bowl and add a generous amount of salt.
  2. Mix it until it reaches a thick oily like texture.
  3. Use the mixture as a conductive pathway in your circuit, and spread it however you like on your materials.
  4. Complete your circuit and test it to see if the paint works.

We used a basic circuit to test out the paint: pasted-image-0

But the paint can be applied to a few other situations as well:



The result should leave you with a spreadable paste that can replace conductive thread or other methods you have been using for circuit creation. Though it might not be the most effective method, the group thought that it was a creative and interesting way to give students more freedom when it came to their projects. Not only can this be used in circuitry and wearables, it can be used in paintings or art installations for light shows or other electrical surprises.


Initially, we wanted to make the paint with graphite, but it was less reliable and not as conductive as the salt paint when it was tested. The goal of our tutorial was to create a quick DIY that everyone is able to create and use, and we think that we did that successfully.



Skill Sharing Workshop – Group 2

Group Members:

Weiqi Wu

Ricky Chau

Brandon Santos

Mahmoud Sumrain


During the initial ideation phase, we pondered much around the topic of exercise and how we could produce something that could help users focus more on their workouts. After considering a few issues that could have a feasible solution, we concluded that we wanted to produce a product that could track every repetition of a jumping jack that visually and auditorily provides feedback. To this end, we succeeded in producing a product that would encourage users who find themselves consistently discouraged by misremembering their number of repetitions to exercise freely with enhanced mental fortitude.


The project we are showcasing is a counting wearable that utilizes pressure sensors. These sensors are located on the shoes’ insoles, and it tracks whenever the user walks, jumps, or dances among various other activities that produce some form of pressure to the tip of the shoe. Every time the sensor is triggered, the analog sends data to the CPX, which then lights up the LEDs sequentially, indicating their current aggregate repetitions.

Skills Involved

Sewing techniques to sew the pressure sensor as well as for connecting the circuit.

Materials Required + Purchasing Options


Circuit Diagram


Manufacturing Tutorial


  1. Measure the size of the insole, and cut the conductive fabric, non-conductive fabric and Velostat. Ensure that the non-conductive fabric is the longest, followed by the Velostat which should be made to cover the conductive fabric so that the two conductive pieces are separated by a barrier.3
  2. Use the non-conductive thread to sew them onto the felt.6
  3. Place the Velostat in the middle and sew them together.9
  4. Sew two stripes of the conductive fabric on each side.13 14
  5. Using a glue gun, stick the pressure sensor on the tip of the insole along with the conductive fabric stripes. Glue a piece of felt in the middle of the insole.15
  6. Place the CPX at the end of the felt, using conductive thread to connect the conductive stripes to 3.3 V, to resistor –>ground, to pin A1
  7. Add a non-conductive yarn at the end of the felt in order to fix the position of the CPX on top of the shoe.17 18
  8. Install the insole within the shoes then pull the felt from the side of the shoe, and fasten the position by tying a knot at the other side.
  9. Connect the product to your power source.

Coding Tutorial



  • To begin, we will need to reset a couple of variables that we will be tracking including the number of jumps, sets and turns. Further, we will be specifying the total amount of reps that we would perform within a set and one turn.
  • Set up four variables: “Jump”, “Reps”, “Set”, and “Turn.”


  • Create an “on start” which could be found in the LOOPS category.
  • Set the variables “Jump,” “Set,” and “Turn,” to 0, and “Reps” to 10.
  • Set all of the colours of the pixels to black. This ensures that they are off as the circuit turns on.
  • When the user begins their workout, we want the jumps, sets and turns to be fixed at zero, while the number of reps inside of a set to be ten. This is done so that every time we jump and add pressure to the sensor, it increases the number of NeoPixels that are blue by one, and they stay whatever colour we set them to until we turn them off.

  • Add another variable “analogValue”, in order to read the pressure value/level

  • Set up the analog Value to analog read pin A1

  • Set up an if condition so that when analogValue (the pressure data) is over 1000, it changes the value of the variable“Jump” by one without any colours.
  • This step is essential for accuracy as we found out that analog read is very sensitive. We encountered an error whereby when the user jumps once the value will increase to number 10.
  • One set = the user jumps one time.

  • Set up another “if” condition so that when the value of the variable“jump” equals the number of reps (10) and so that 10 is the number of reps we wanted to do inside of a set.
  • Then set the value of variable “jumps” back to 0 so that we could track it again.
  • And create a for loops, turn one of the pixels blue. And this is going to count how many jumps we have by changing the number of sets. Also, set up that it will change the number of variables “Set” by 1.
  • When people jump the second time, and the value for the variable “set” has increased by one.

  • Set up an if statement again. If the number of variable “Set” equal to the number of variable “Reps”, which means people jump 10 times. Set the number of variables “Set” back to 0 (Then set the number of variable “Jumps” back to 0 so that we could track it again), and reset the NeoPixels so that there’s no light lit as they were going to stay blue.
  • And create a for loops, turn one of the pixels red. And this is going to count how many times we jumped 10 times we did by changing the number of the variable “Turn”. Also, set up that it will change the number of variables “turn” by 1.
  • So when people jump every ten times, and the value for variable “turn” has increased by one.


  • When we reach the maximum of ten turns, it will play a siren sound. It also then reset the number of all the variables “Jump,” “Set,” and “Turn,” along with the lights. This is so that if the user desires, they could start again.

Overview Image

Tutorial Video


Reflection & Further Development


  • The pressure is not accurate enough since any source of direct non-exercise-related pressure could potentially activate the circuit. This is not ideal as it is possible for the product to read it standing and exerting pressure on the top of the shoe as a jump. Analog data is unfortunately not the best-suited option for recording data for our purposes.
  • The duration of the tutorial may be longer than what was instructed in the guidelines as it takes quite some time to sew the product. However, all of the steps are generally straightforward.
  • There might be a better way to attach the CPX, as well as a better way to fasten it on top of the shoes. Perhaps it could have even been on the side, not necessarily on the top.
  • If you would like to explore more on the topic of acceleration in CPX, check out this informative video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ydu1KnGWjrI

Further Development:

  • Add a button – only when the button is on, the circuit will activate.
  • To use acceleration in the CPX instead of the pressure sensor as it may end up providing more accurate readings.
  • It could be used on socks, or we could potentially make it a separate entity that can be placed in various other localities.
  • To allow some users to define how many reps they would like to do since it is currently a fixed amount until the siren rings.


How to get what you want. (n.d.). Retrieved March 16, 2021, from https://www.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=6927

(2020, May 29). How to make an e-textile analog sensor. Retrieved March 16, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tA37mGEnPes&t=62s

Working with Analog Data, Olivia Prior, February 23, 2021, from https://canvascloud.ocadu.ca/courses/1271/pages/working-with-analog-data-25~min?module_item_id=121932







Group 8 Skillshare


Group Members + Responsibilities: 

Hedy Fu: Blog+ Video Edit

Zoe Roiati-Antonucci: Code

Vermont Urbanovich: Filming

Vaneeza Usman: Written Tutorials



Our goal is to create a simple tool that will allow people to switch diffusion materials easily. It is highly inspired by how cameras are designed with removable and switchable lens.

Materials (and where to get them) 

For Constructing the circuit:

  • Circuit Playground Express (CPX) (Creatron)
  • 1 – 220-ohm resistor (Creatron)
  • 1 – LED (Creatron)
  • 1 – Photosensor (Creatron)
  • 1 – 10K resistor(Creatron)
  • 6 Alligator Clips (if you don’t want to sew your circuit) (Creatron)
  • Conductive Thread (Creatron)
  • Sewing Needle  (at home or a local crafts store like Michaels)
  • Thread  (at home or a local crafts store like Michaels)
  • Scissors   (at home or a local crafts store like Michaels)
  • Felt (at home or a local crafts store like Michaels)
  • Paper and Pen (Sketching)  (at home or a local crafts store like Michaels)

Diffusion Materials:

  • Cotton balls (at home or grocery store)
  • Cling Film/Saran wrap (at home or grocery store)


Circuit Diagrams 


Step by Step 


  1. Draw the circuit, on a piece of paper. Attach the photosensor to pin 3.3V, with the 10K resistor on the line, a connection line in between that goes to pin A5,  and the LED to pin A1 with the 220-ohm resistor.  
  2. Once you are happy with the circuit design draw the circuit on the felt.
  3. ss1
  4. Sew the CPX to the felt using thread, loop through each pin.
  5. Sew through pin 3.3V with conductive thread, loop around 3 times then sew to where the Photosensor will be placed.  
  6. Take the photosensor and curl the legs to form a circle that can be looped through. Loop through the first curled leg of the Photosensor and tie off the conductive thread.
  7. Loop through the second curled leg with a new string of conductive thread sewing till the location of the 10K resistor.
  8. Curl the legs of the resistor and sew the first leg down then tie off the conductive thread.
  9. Start again at the second leg of the Photoresistor and loop through it a few times. Next sew to the A5 pin, loop around it and tie off the thread. 
  10. Taking a new piece of conductive thread sew the last leg down and sew to a GND (ground)  pin on the CPX.
  11. Repeat the same process (steps 5-9 but not step 8)  for the LED and the 220 ohm resistor on pin A1. But make sure to sew the long leg first, The shorter leg will be connected with the same piece of conductive thread as the 220ohm resistor.  
  12. ss2
  13. Connect your CPX to your computer and follow the steps to create the code. Then take different materials and cover the LED to understand what are the different ways that an LED can be diffused. Also, try and see how the light bounces off some of the materials provided.

Alligator Clips:

  1. Attach one alligator clip pin 3.3V, the first clip on the pin and the second on one leg of the photoresistor.
  2. Connect the other leg of the photosensor to another alligator clip, and then attach it to pin A5.
  3. Connect another alligator clip to the same leg of the photoresistor attach the other side to the 10K resistor.
  4. Connect an alligator clip to the 10K resistor and then to GND (ground).
  5. Connect an alligator clip to A1, the first clip on the pin and the second clip will connect to the long leg of the LED, the anode.
  6. Take another alligator clip and connect it to the short leg of the LED, connect the other side to the 220-ohm resistor.
  7. Connect the last alligator clip to the 220-ohm resistor and to any remaining ground pins available on the CPX.

ss3Connect your CPX to your computer and create the code. Then take different materials and cover the LED to understand what are the different ways that an LED can be diffused. Also, try and see how the light bounces off some of the materials provided.

Make Code, Fade the LED:

  1. Open a new Make Code document and add an “on start” block
  2. Create two variables, one for max brightness and one for minimum brightness.
  3. Open the “set {variable} to __” from the variables folder, create two. Set the Max brightness to 180 and minimum brightness variable to 40. Put the two blocks inside “on start”.
  4. Create a variable called “control”.
  5. Set control as “analog read pin A5” and place it within the “forever” block.
  6. Create another to set a value to “control”.
  7.  Take three math blocks one for multiplication, subtraction and division.
  8. Add the max brightness bubble to the first location of the multiplication function.
  9. Take the subtraction bubble and place it in the second location of the multiplication bubble.
  10. Set the first value of the subtraction bubble to one, drag the division function to the second location of the subtraction bubble.
  11. Add the control bubble to the first location of the division bubble, make the second value 1023.
  12. Take the multiplication bubble that holds the subtraction and the division bubbles and place it as the value of control. Place this variable block below “set control to analog pin A5”
  13. Create a logic statement using the conditional if statement with a comparison block of less than “<“.
  14. Set the comparison to “control” is less than “min brightness” and place this comparison in the conditional statement.
  15. If the conditional statement becomes true “set control to min brightness”.
  16. After the if statement “set analog write pin A1 to control.”
  17. Plug in your CPX and try the code.


Link to the Tutorial Video 



Blaine, Erin St. “Steven Universe Wearable, Fusable Gem.” Adafruit Learning System, 6 Mar. 2019, learn.adafruit.com/steven-universe-wearable-fusable-gem.

Brothers, Ruiz. “Touch Tone for Circuit Playground Express.” Adafruit Learning System, 27 June 2018, learn.adafruit.com/touch-tone-for-circuit-playground-express.

“Tester Tools: Bracelets.” HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANTwww.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=7881.

Wong, Sophy. “Con Badge with Circuit Playground Express.” Adafruit Learning System, 19 Mar. 2018, learn.adafruit.com/circuit-playground-express-con-badge.



Skill Sharing Workshop – Group 1

DIY Reactive Stuffed Animal


Group 1: Nala Ren, Kate Jung, Qinxinrui Zhu


Babies and toddlers don’t always require fancy, store-bought toys. Even odd, everyday items (such as wallets, sunglasses, and water bottles) can engage and entertain them as they discover a world of sensory touch.

While potentially anything can keep them occupied, children also tend to get bored or quickly outgrow toys — making it unsustainable to keep replacing them. So why spend money and create more waste when you can DIY a unique toy by repurposing or using household items?

Materials Required:

  • Non-conductive fabric (e.g felt)
  • Circuit Playground Express
  • Conductive Thread
  • Non-conductive Thread
  • 220-ohm resistor
  • Pressure Sensor (you should have one already made from the Variable Resistors Workshop)
  • Polyester Stuffing (or filling of your choice)
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Metal snap/metal button (optional)
  • Micro-USB to USB cable
  • Rechargeable Battery Pack (optional)
  • A marker or fabric chalk


Where to Purchase Materials:

Walmart / Michaels

  • Felt
  • Polyester Stuffing
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Metal snap
  • Non-conductive thread
  • Rechargeable Battery PackMarker/fabric chalk

Creatron Inc. (GTA)

  • Circuit Playground Express
  • Conductive Thread
  • 220-ohm resistor
  • Micro-USB to USB cable

Circuit Diagram :


Step by Step Documentation :

Step 1 :Cut out the shape of a cat x3 (front, back, and circuit piece) from non-conductive fabric (we used felt). With fabric chalk, mark the pieces as “front”, “back”, and “circuit”.


Step 2:Sew on the Circuit Playground Express near the middle right of the cat shape using non-conductive thread.


Step 3: Using conductive thread, sew on a metal snap or a metal button (or just sew a star shape) to make the cat’s nose and sew a connection between the button nose and pin A1.


Step 4: Place the pressure sensor on the cat’s ear and using conductive thread, sew a connection between the 3.3V pin and the bottom tab of the pressure sensor.


Step 5: Using conductive thread, sew a connection between the top tab of the pressure sensor and a 220-ohm resistor, and then sew a connection between the other end of the resistor and GND. Then sew a connection between the end of the resistor closest to the pressure sensor and your data pin (A7).


Step 6: Place the front piece directly on top of the circuit piece and mark where the button nose on the circuit piece touches the front piece. Cut out a hole in the front piece so that the button nose is exposed.


Step 7: Sew around the entire edge of both pieces using non-conductive thread, only leaving a gap where the CPX is connected to power via the power/USB cable. Place the back piece directly on top of your newly sewn front+circuit piece and sew around the entire edge using non-conductive thread, this time making sure to leave a gap big enough for your CPX to pass through as well as the power/USB cable.



Step 8: Turn the cat inside out. Now your front and back pieces should be visible and your circuit piece should be entirely hidden on the inside.


Step 9: Stuff the cat with the stuffing of your choice and sew closed the hole that you left open for stuffing (sewing around the power/USB cable if using). Then connect your power/USB cable to a battery back and you’re finished!


Link to Code:



Tutorial Video: 


Reflection & Conclusion:

We really enjoyed creating this tutorial as it allowed us to explore a new opportunity space and type of audience that we haven’t encountered before. Choosing this specific ‘target’ user group also gave us a great chance to think about issues within sustainability and usability. Overall, we think that this is a cute and customizable idea that a busy parent or older sibling can execute easily, and can be expanded to include more complicated inputs/outputs that the creator (of the toy) can customize to their preference. Lastly, we became familiarized with newer topics in this class (such as pressure sensors) together, while learning to collaborate remotely.

Related Tutorials & Works:

MakeCode Documentation. (2018). If. Microsoft MakeCode. https://makecode.adafruit.com/blocks/logic/if.

MakeCode Documentation. (2018). Boolean. Microsoft MakeCode. https://makecode.adafruit.com/blocks/logic/boolean.

Prior, O. (2021). Variable Resistors Workshop. Online Lecture. https://canvascloud.ocadu.ca/courses/1271/pages/variable-resistors-workshop-45~-min?module_item_id=121928.

Prior, O. (2021). Capacitive Touch. Online Lecture. https://canvascloud.ocadu.ca/courses/1271/pages/capacitive-touch-20~-min?module_item_id=124059.

Nakagaki, K. (2016). VOODOO SENSOR. HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT. https://www.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=4240.

Skill Sharing Workshop – Group 4

Wearable Hand Washing Timer

Angelina Do (3182746)

Valeria Suing (3182717)

For the video tutorial, please click on the link below:


Although washing your hands has always been important, the current state of the world has certainly brought to our attention the correct ways to do this action. According to the CDC: 

To prevent the spread of germs during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should also wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to clean hands BEFORE and AFTER:

  • Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Touching your mask
  • Entering and leaving a public place
  • Touching an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts, or electronic cashier registers/screens. ” (CBC, 2020)

We can all remember some trends people came up with a year ago to make sure you scrub your hands for 20 seconds. However, singing your favourite song’s chorus repeatedly gets annoying, so we have the solution for you!

Introducing our Wearable Hand Washing Timer. This simple tutorial will teach you how to build this simple timer with materials that you probably already have at home. Let’s do this! 

Materials Required


From the class kit, you will need: 

  • Circuit Playground Express
  • Micro USB cable 

From your nearest crafting store, or your home, you will need:

  • Felt or any other non-conductive fabric
  • Scissors
  • Non-conductive thread 
  • Needle
  • Cotton balls 
  • Decorative elements (optional!)


  1. The first step is to download the following code: https://makecode.com/_e4q80RRU2c91 
  2. Then you should connect your CPX to your computer via a USB cable and upload the code.
  3. Test it out and start building your wearable.
  4. Cut your felt or fabric in an approximately 17cm x 6cm rectangle.
  5. Attach your CPX in the middle of the rectangle with the non-conductive thread.                                                                                                                                                     img_1968
  6. Diffuse the lights using the cotton balls. You can sew them into the fabric so they can hold their place. Make sure to leave some space to connect the CPX to power.
  7. Secure the forearm band, customize with decorative elements, connect to power and wash your hands!

Further Explanation 

This code contains different custom functions that use the CPX LEDs to interact with the user. 

This code was modified from this source: 


In “On start” we set the LED’s brightness to 10. Then we call the “blink” function to make the LEDs blink twice in green, and then we set them to “black” until the timer starts. The “blink” function is also used to make red LEDs blink once the timer is done. 

We were debating how to start the timer. Ideally, we would use a switch, but it had to be activated contactless for this purpose. After testing it in different ways, we decided to use “on tilt up” since it allowed us to start the timer without interfering with it later in the act of washing our hands (which was not the case with “on loud noise” or “on shake”). We also explored the opportunities to either use mapping or calibration, but it seemed to work best with just the set input instruction. 

Here’s a quick video of when we finally were able to find the best way to activate the timer:


The timer starts by calling on two other custom functions. Function prep_countdown sets LEDs to cyan and green to indicate the user how the lights will function as a timer. Function countdown is the timer itself. For this, the function uses a counter and sets LEDs to either magenta or blue to indicate that a second has passed. We decided to add sound once the timer was done, along with the blinking of red lights. This allows the user to pay attention to washing their hands instead of staring at the timer all the time.

To customize the timer, the user could change the parameters when calling the function. In this case, we used 20 seconds since that is the recommended time to wash your hands. 

Overall, we had fun working on this project and exploring what we had at home to build this fun and useful wearable. 


Adafruit. (2020, April 1). No-Touch Hand Wash Timer for Circuit Playground Express and CLUE. Adafruit Learning System. https://learn.adafruit.com/no-touch-hand-wash-timer-for-cpx-and-clue/overview

CDC. (2020). When and How to Wash Your Hands. Handwashing | CD https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html

Skill Sharing Workshop – Group 5

Skill Sharing workshop – Fruit Piano



Group 5:

Ivy Sun

Rhepa Kamal

John Xu

Ethan Griffin


In this skill-sharing workshop, we will be making a fruit piano. The fruit piano will consist of real fruits attached to the circuit playground express and will play a tune when the fruits are touched. We followed a tutorial online, then implemented our own personalization to it which the other group will follow. This tutorial is unusual since we are using fruits as a capacitive touch which is why we chose this. 

Materials required


  • 1x Circuit Playground Express
  • 6x Fruits. (in our case we used oranges, kiwi, lemon and apples.)
  • 6x Alligator clips
  • 1x USB cable


Where to buy materials


  • Any grocery stores either local or big.
  • Supermarkets.
  • Food marts…etc.

Circuit playground express 

  • Digikey
  • Amazon
  • Creaton(if living in Toronto).

Alligator clips

  • Digikey
  • Amazon
  • Michaels
  • Walmart
  • Creaton(if living in Toronto)…etc.

Micro USB data

  • Amazon.
  • Digikey.
  • Best Buy.
  • The source.
  • Any local or electric store…etc.

Link to the tutorial video

Group 5 Fruit Piano Tutorial

Circuit Diagrams (if used) 


Step by step documentation of the workshop process with images.

Making The Code

code-process011. The first step is to put the “On Start” block and add the “Set Volume” to 255.

code-process022. Add an “If” statement block. That is where we will create our events. Then drag in the “Input is pressed” block in the “if” statement true section in order for the capacitive touch to work. Proceed to add a tone with any choice of the keys that will play the sound.

code-process033. Add a rest block of half a beat. This is necessary and important because it delays half a second to avoid repeating sounds.

code-process044. Add any color of your choice and a clear block. The clear block will clear the sound after triggering it. Proceed to copy and paste the whole “If” statement blocks.  Make sure to change the colors, the tone and the “Input is pressed” block for each section. 





Code Link




Building The Piano

piano-process011. Attach the alligator clips onto the CPX touchpads. We used A1,A2,A3,A4,A5 and A6.

piano-process022. Attach the other end of the alligator clip onto the lemon.

piano-process033. Connect your micro USB data onto the CPX and power source and that should be the overall look. Do not arrange them too close to each other, or it will cause interference!



Bonus & Reflection



This was a fun project to do. Besides experimenting with fruits, we also experimented with vegetables and got interesting results! We tested out by using carrots, cabbage, potato, tomato, mushroom, pumpkin avocado and Taro.

Potato, tomato, mushroom, avocado and taro, worked. Pumpkin was the only one that didn’t work. With carrots and cabbage, it was really weird because it kept triggering. We’re not sure why, but it could be affected by the water and acid in the fruits. Nevertheless, it was fascinating to experiment with this project with various ranges of fruits and vegetables. 


Related tutorials & works cited in APA.

Inspired by:

Nelson, C. (2016, November 15). Circuit Playground Fruit Drums. Retrieved March 14, 2021, from https://learn.adafruit.com/circuit-playground-fruit-drums

Park, J. (2017, December 11). FruitBox Sequencer: Musically Delicious Step Pattern Generator. Retrieved March 14, 2021, from https://learn.adafruit.com/circuitpython-fruitbox-sequencer-musically-delicious-step-pattern-generator

The lime tutorial we mainly absorbed:

Rembor, K. (2020, July 1). Circuit Playground Express: Piano in the Key of Lime. Retrieved March 14, 2021, from https://www.digikey.com/en/maker/projects/circuit-playground-express-piano-in-the-key-of-lime/00fa9517033d464a90836581abddf2fc


Expressive Wearable Assignment – Giulia Zefilippo

The emotion I chose was serenity. When I researched this word, it meant calm, strong, unwavering. I wanted to express through a bracelet that even through movements, it still remains calm.
I created a bracelet that reacted to the movement of rotation on the x and z scale. The action of the user rotating the bracelet and activating the external LEDs is meant to express a slow breathing in and out. The CPX neopixels have a slow countdown to represent the direction of change.

My original goal was to create a bracelet that reacted to rotation movement. I wanted to express an emotion of calmness even when there’s a rough time.



Final Project Images:



Parts List:

    • Conductive Wire
    • Old t-shirt sleeve – sheer
    • 330 Ohm resistors x 8
    • Green and Blue LEDs x8
    • Sheet of thick fabric felt

Circuit Diagram:
circuitdiagramReflections and Next Steps:
I think spent too much time on this project. I chose a sheer black fabric to diffuse the LEDs but I believe they were diffused too much and barely visible. I think I would have chosen a brighter fabric that was also sheer for a second version. I think the achieved my goal of this project but I will have to improve the aesthetics for a second version.




Core Electronics. (2018, May 04). How to use the accelerometer on CIRCUIT Playground express WITH MAKECODE. Retrieved March 16, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHdzu_rq46Y

DiCola, T. (n.d.). Digital fidget spinner. Retrieved March 16, 2021, from https://www.digikey.ca/en/maker/projects/digital-fidget-spinner/62e96282cdbb400d9d41b4f1d8fe9aba