Open Project – Weiqi Wu

Detachable Notes





video of Detachable Notes


“Detachable Notes” is a wearable that allows people to attach and detach wearable electronics which might have various functions. The attachment of the day could be decided by users that which components fit the most of that day. For example, if a user might need to walk back home at late night with few lights on the street, he/she could choose to carry the component that could remind the cars or other people that there is a person walking in the dark. Since it is a T-shirt, users will need to wear it directly, not adding on other clothing. Except for the connection between each component, all the component is removable. They could be unattached to avoid the connection or switch with other components. There are three modes now in this wearable. The first mode would be when users click Button A on the circuit playground express, the component in the front will blink 20 times. The second mode is when users click Button B on the circuit playground express, The component on the back will have rainbow light. The third mode is to close everything. Pressing Button A and Button B at the same time, all the action will stop. The purpose of the users of wearing this wearable could be various since it is component-based that could achieve different effects.

This version of the “Detachment Notes” shirt, it includes three components. The one in white-flower shape is for the battery and circuit playground express, allowing them to control and send code to the components. The other two are light components. The yellow flower-looking light component has a meaning of happiness. When the user wears it on the shirt, it indicating a happy emotion. The blinking light is between yellow and orange, trying to deliver a positive emotional effect. The one on the back is a butterfly component. Its work is to remind other people in the dark that there is one person here, avoiding the hit from cars but looks beautiful at the same time.

There will be more components along with the development, however, in the first version, there will be only two versions being shown.


Idea & Inspiration

The inspiration first came from a tutorial from Kobakant ( It is an Electromagnetic Velcro. However, the author indicates that it will turn out hot and burn the fabric and it might not be stable. I got the inspiration to separate the circuit into two pieces and decided to use the press button that I explored in exploration journal 3 instead. So, I could put the CPX and the battery on the clothing and connect the pins with one side of the press button. And then use a separate fabric with another side of the press button as well as the circuit including the input and output.

Also, I think it could be really interesting that explore and create a wearable that the components could be add on or remove, which similar to a device such as a phone. The clothing’s connection-based like a physical phone and the components is the application that features on it.

What I am Creating

I tried to use the LED string as the light source. And the press button will have a similar effect with the switch. Only when the button is connected, the circuit is complete. On the components, there will be some conductive press buttons and some non-conductive press buttons, they were used for connecting to the circuit and help for fixing the position of the components respectively. On the clothing, using conductive thread and conductive fabric to connect the buttons to help close the circuit. The connection is fixed on clothing. Component One, flower shape with white and orange colours, the purpose of it is to share the warm, optimistic, happiness emotion to others. Component Two, butterfly shape with purple and white colours, the purpose of it is to remind other people that there is someone in case it is really dark and can barely see people on street.


The object of “Detachment Notes” is trying to explore more on the separation on the clothing and the wearable electronic so that could see the difference from the wearable that is sewing and fix on the clothing. With the Detachment Notes, users have more freedom on it. It is not specific to one topic. And users are allowed to have some customization of how it will look and what functions it is going to perform by selection materials, function, and different sensors. For me, it looks like a”LEGO” in the wearable technology area.


  • Comfort: The components and connection parts are all fixed on the outside of the t-shirt. They don’t have a direct connection with skin except for the arm. At the same time, it is made of soft material which is friendly to the skin.
  • Durability: Since the circuit playground express and all the other electronic components are detachable, so uses could remove all the electronic parts and use water to wash the cloth. Moreover, most of the sewing part is hidden under the fabric so that it could keep the thread away from damage.
  • Usability: Since it is a components-based wearable, users could always add more or switch to another component that has different functions on clothing. Therefore, it could fulfill most of the needs of users. The only problem will be the there is no way to change the background since it is fixed on the t-shirt.
  • Aesthetics: In my point of view, the aesthetics of the “Detachable Notes” is well fitted in this topic. As I mentioned just now, it looks like a “LEGO” toy to me, therefore, it is more cartoon style. And I believed that there are people who also love this style. Moreover, on the t-shirt, the cloud and glass are for hiding the conductive thread and fabric, so that it is there in purposed. If some users don’t like the style, it could always able to change into another theme and style, as long as it is having the same functions.


Ideation drawing


At the beginning drawing of the idea, I was planning to create two rectangle components with two materials and two effects.


After some brainstorms, the idea has been iterated. The form and shape of the components are not fixed anymore, And it is a garden theme that has glass, flowers, butterfly on it. In this drawing, I put a heart that could be active by capacitive touch, however, due to the time consuming, I decided to give up this component.


This is the detailed design I planned to create in these components.


I get out how the light will perform under the cotton and adding a felt sheet on top.

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Cutting ut the pieces. I cut out a hole because I would like more light could be delivered from the LED strip.

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Similar to butterfly components, cutting out and creating a hole for more light comes out.

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Similar to the butterfly components, cutting our, creating a spot for the CPX and the battery.


Testing the LED strip. And this is the video.

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After the consideration, I decided to add two more buttons in order to have capacitive touch, for the purpose of activating the code. However, after the consideration of time, I decided not to do it in this project.

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Due to the covid-19 situation in Tronto, there are fewer places that sell art supplies, Micheal only got two packs of the conductive version of the press button. The black one in non-conduction. But I need the more button that is conductive, therefore, I taped the copper type on the button to make it conductive, and it works as expected.


Using conductive fabric for the main part to replace the conductive thread. so that it will be cleaner when looking at the outside.



Connect the LED strip to the conductive buttons. Also, testing if it works. The LED strip is in series connection.

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Working on the connection part where need to place the press buttons in the right place, and having conductive thread and fabric to connect between each press buttons. Also, testing if the connection is good in the circuit.




The final look. It looks great and cute. The light can not really see it when it’s super bright outside. But it is really clear in a darker area. The video could be found at the top of the page.

Part lists

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- Circuit Playground Express
- 60 WS2812 RGB Addressable LED Strip
- 3.7V 400mAh Lithium-Ion Polymer Battery
- Conductive thread
- Conductive fabric
- Copper tape
- Non-conductive
- Press buttons (conductive x 2Packs and non-conductive x 2Packs)
- Felt with various colours (Purple, Orange, Green, Darker Green, White)
- Cotton Balls
- Sewing set
- Scissors
- Another type of fabric
- Glue gun

Code and Circuit Diagram


MakeCode Link


Reflection and Next Steps


During the process of making, I need to plan ahead and buy more materials. The reason why I use copper tape on the black press button is that there is not enough for the needs. So for the next or future course-related assignment, I would prefer but more than what I think I need, which allows me some areas to change my idea. Also, I did not use different materials as mediums for the components. If using different materials as an example, it would be more interesting and understandable for the user to get the advantages of the detachable wearable technology. It is a pity that I did not contain capacitive touch or any sensors in the project. This related back to my first problem that did not have enough conductive touch for additional sensors. Moreover, I did something wrong in the arrangement of the button. For the butterfly, the arrangement of the button is “ground”, “data pin”, and “Vout” from top to the bottom, however, the arrangement in the yellow follow is “Ground”, “Vout” and “data pin”. So that when they exchange the position, the light is not working.

Next Step

For the next step, first fix the arrangement of the position of the bottom and make it work. And then I would like to produce more components for the clothing. Also, I would like to try using some sewing techniques on the component sheet so that it looks more aesthetic. In addition, adding sensors and sensors as one of the components would be a great idea as well! The component sheet is not fixed to the sensor using as well!


Blaine, E. S. (2019). LED NeoPixel Corset with Circuit Playground Express and MakeCode. Adafruit Learning System.

Halleux, P. de. (2017). NeoPixels with MakeCode. Adafruit Learning System.

YouTube. (2019). Behind the MakeCode Hardware - NeoPixels on Circuit Playground Express. YouTube.

VELCRO, E. L. E. C. T. R. O. M. A. G. N. E. T. I. C. (2020). HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT.

Park, J. (2020). No-Touch Hand Wash Timer for Circuit Playground Express and CLUE. Adafruit Learning System.




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