Visualizing Sensor Data: I-See & BreathMask

The following two wearable technology projects, I-See and BreathMask, are explorations of practical and artistic uses for sensors in wearable garments. In the making of both garments, I explore the relationship between the body and technology.

The BreathMask

The BreathMask is a surgical mask that can be used for everyday wear to protect the user from breathing pollutants and viruses. My goal for this project was to embed a gas sensor into the mask to measure the users breathing patterns (through rising and falling CO2 data) and visualize them through the neopixels sewn into the forward-facing section of the mask. The objective of this project is to create a useful product that utilizes technology for the purpose of self-expression through fashion.

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Relevant Projects

  • When conceptualizing the idea for BreathMask I was inspired by this Wearable Gas Sensor Mask made using Adafruits CCS811 gas sensor and the Circuit Playground Express. What I found interesting in this project was the creator’s use of light to visualize body-centric data.
  • I found aesthetic inspiration from the artist Wang Zhijun and his Yeezy Boost 350 pollution mask design.
  • When finalizing material design choices I looked to industrial designers Wenzhi Li’s Smart Mask as a source of inspiration for choosing rapid prototyping methods. This product design of the Smart Mask is what got me thinking about using high fidelity materials and combining fabric materials with 3D printed pieces.

Breath Mask Part List 

  1. Adafruit CCS811 Air Quality Sensor Breakout – VOC and eCO2
  2. NeoPixel Ring – 16 x WS2812 5050 RGB LED
  3. Arduino Uno
  4. 1″ by 1″ piece of Neoprene
  5. Cardboard
  6. Canvas Strap
  7. Jumper Wire

Wearability Assessment

For the Breath Mask, I think the wearability of the design is comfortable and secure enough for short term use, however, the structure of the mask could be improved for long term use by using a less rigid material. Due to a lack of resources (because of COVID-19) I had to use cardboard for the final prototype instead of the sneaker fabric and 3D printed pieces I wanted to use. Overall, I think the product is effectively wearable for its intended purpose.

Challenges & Successes

The biggest challenge I had developing the BreathMask was getting the gas sensor to effectively visualize the user’s beath. Because the design positions the sensor in a place that is close to the mouth the CO2 values are registered as High even when the user is inhaling. This is because the sensor is still picking up remaining CO2 levels in its atmosphere from when the user exhaled. My approach to this problem was to create the inhale/exhale pattern using a light fading loop and use the sensor data to change the pixel colors.

Another major challenge with this project was my lack of access to a soldering machine. Most of the components I had needed to be soldered rather than using weak temporary connectors like alligator clips. This caused me to have insufficient or overflowing sources of power in my circuit, eventually blowing out the sensor completely. That is when I pivoted my project to focus on the I-See.

Video of Working Code

Link to Commented Code 

I-See

The second project, I – See, is a fingerless glove that serves as a wearable guidance system for the visually impaired. My goal for this project is to create a hand-operated wearable embedded with a proximity sensor. When the user approaches a wall or an object the sensor will activate an alarm sound (for the user) and flash a red warning light (for people around them) to alert the user when they are approaching a potential danger.

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Relevant Projects

  • When developing I-See I researched some existing guidance tools, The one I found most interesting was the WayBand. This is because it seemed to me like one of the few useful and effective guidance tools that allowed the user a greater sense of independence and awareness of their environment

I-See Part List 

  1. NeoPixel Ring – 16 x WS2812 5050 RGB LED
  2. Arduino Uno
  3. Speaker – 3″ Diameter – 4 Ohm 3 Watt
  4. Jumper Wire
  5. A Sock or Glove.

Wearability Assessment

As for the I-See glove, I think the wearability of this product needs to be thoroughly improved. The weight of the Arduino on the top of the hand is slightly uncomfortable so perhaps switching to a smaller microcontroller would be best (something like the Arduino Micro).  Additionally, all of the wires and components were especially hard to hide (again due to a lack of resources caused by COVID-19).

Challenges & Successes

In developing the I-See my biggest challenge was getting the Arduino to play the alarm sound through a speaker. By this point, I was feeling pretty successful having got the light and sensor working together fairly easily. I was surprised to find out how difficult it was to do something that I thought to be the simplest – playing a sound file. To be able to play the sound file through the attached speaker I had to change the stereo bit rate to fit the 8kHz sample rate and 16kpbs stereo bit rate supported by the Arduino. Then I had to use an audio encoder to convert my sound into the binary format used by the Arduino. Next, I had to change my import setting so that I could convert the new file to mp3. After all that I had to deleted pages and pages of binary code from the encoded sound file because it was causing the byte size of the sketch to exceed the program storage space.

Video of Working Product

Link to Commented Code

Next Steps

Given the resources, I would refine the I-See product further by 3D printing a casing for the light and speaker that could be sewn into the front of the glove, and I would use conductive fabric rather than wires to make the circuit connections.

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The Hug Shirt

The Hug Shirt

Clothing plays a vital role in social communication and it can broadcast strong social signaling. The clothes we choose to wear each day influence how others receive us, and the kind of first impression we put out into the world. In this prospect, the wearable computing device can offer new unique opportunities for social engagement by automating emotional and communicative gestures during a social interaction. These devices have the ability to render clothing as a tool of self-expression allowing wearers to reflect their desired emotional responses to the world, which sometimes can be challenging to express, especially for the introverted and more emotionally constipated type of people. By automating some behavioral gestures, these expressive wearables can add a new dimension of behavior and expression in our lives, strengthening the sense of community in our society.

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The Hug Shirt was devised on the principle of welcoming, social engagement. The project explores how people can use wearables in a playful approach. The shirt uses a hugging emoji, which is a well recognized and used as a warm signal during the past couple decades. The use of a hugging emoji significantly predisposes the wearer’s action as welcoming and friendly. The open arms gesture reaching in for a hug is activated by the proximity sensor.
The sensor values activate four different states. The first state is an idle state when the sensor receives no input. The second state is activated as the observer comes within a 50-100 cm range, causing the emoji arms to open. The third state is activated when the observer comes within a 10-49 cm range. During this state, the arms’ movements mimic flapping wings, turning the LED on. The red LEDs were used under the cheeks to give a blushing effect.  When the observer comes closer than 10cm the arms go back to its initial state. This final state was designed to clear the way for the observer to come closer and hug the wearer.

Wearable devices have an efficacy to engage people in constructive social interaction. It is on us designers to unravel its untapped potential.

 

GitHub : https://github.com/anasraza-zz/theHugShirt

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Bloom

Bloom

Bloom was designed around the emotional tone word ‘fancy’. The concept was to hide beautiful mechanics that would be hidden within a special occasion garment. The goal was to create a wearable piece that contains motors which drive mechanical flora to bloom.  The actuator is based on a 3D printable servo linear actuator by maker PotentPrintables. An additional 3D printed component was modelled that acts as a container for the retracted flower.

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This version of the piece uses a 9g servo to drive a linear actuator. The arms of the flower are designed to fit into   holes in a circular holder piece at the top of the actuator at an angle. The compartment restricts the angle of the arms, and releases them as they are pushed out. I mounted it on a wig to experiment with emerging out of soft material that can be dispersed. To research potential mechanisms to achieve the desire effect, different types of umbrellas were reverse engineered.

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After the class critique I began updating the design, moving forward the goal will be to reach the smallest size possible of all components to end up with a compact, wearable design.

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In this iteration the linear actuator brace is smaller and the pusher now drives the flower arm holder, simplifying the design. Smaller servos have been sourced and will be tested.

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While the current state has a satisfying bloom effect, I’d like the flower to be hidden for a growth effect. To achieve this, methods to close an angled bend at the end of the arm with elastic material will be researched.

Parts List & Circuit

  • FITEC FS90 Micro Servo
  • Custom modeled container

 

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The mechanics of Bloom has been a concept that I’ve been meaning to explore since 2017. While at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam I was fascinated by a kinetic light installation called Shylight, where fixtures would drop down and retract with beautiful choreography. The retraction of the arms of Shylight is caused by a ring like Bloom, although with physical forces enabling the bloom effect. The problem I wanted to explore was creating a similar effect with a purely mechanical process rather than gravity.

Another piece I thought about while building Bloom is Daniel Rozin’s “PomPom Mirror. This piece is a good reference for the supernatural effect I would like to achieve in the final piece.

For later iterations “Flowing Water Standing Time” by Ying Gao demonstrates some interactive and generative potential of an aesthetic wearable. The artist describes it as a robotic clothing reacting to the chromatic spectrum, where garments use colour and light sensors, and small cameras linked to a raspberry PI. This data then activates a series of actuators and magnets interlaced with silicone to cause the fabrics move.

While I think this has lots of potential for a ball/gala style dress, another idea that I’ve been thinking over is removing the garment and creating prothetic body extensions. The motivation for this idea revolves around a concept of having nature grow from ones body. Olivier de Sagazan’s work with clay around his body would be a good reference for creating surreal extrusions of the human form.

http://olivierdesagazan.com/

https://vimeo.com/128375543

https://www.studiodrift.com/work/shylight

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Swimming Pool Scarf

Project Description:

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Code: https://github.com/MariaShirokova/Assignment2_Wearables

I have always been fascinated by swimming pools and their aesthetics.

Pool Scarf is an interactive scarf which you can put on your head or shoulders. When you put it on and make a node, the lights change their colors. I aimed to recreate the beauty of the swimming pool, its reflection and game of lights. When its light, you can see swimmers in bright swimsuits, but in the dark pool switches to a night mode, and you can see water reflection which is created using optic fibers and neo pixels. 

 

I can see this scarf be worn in everyday life, as it is an accessory and can help to create a bright image. However, I mostly see it as a part of performance decorations for a small scene, where tiny  details can be seen. 

My expressive adjective is calmness. Looking at water is very relaxing and I wanted to recreate this vibe, when you get mesmerized by looking at light reflections, refractions on the water surface together with a bright blue color of the pool.

Night Pool is a mode of relax and calmness.

Parts list:

Adafruit Playground Circuit – 1;

DIY Sensor (2 pieces of conductive fabric  + conductive thread);

Alligator Clips for rapid prototyping ( replaced with the threads later);

Blue Tulle ( 1m);

Threads for the embroidery;

Process:

This project was lead by materials and my idea of making of a head accessory. I started with sketches of things I want to make, what interactions to include  and what materials I want to explore. 

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After Kate’s presentation, I got very interested in  optic fibers as a part of physical computing. Then, I decided to combine the fibers with tulle, as together they look like a solid material.

Combination of blue tulle, lights and optic fibers gave a strong association with enlightened water during the night, with glowing reflections. Also, I enjoyed working with embroidery during previous projects, so I decided to embroider the swimmers, so the scarf could be bright without lights as well. 

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I experimented with sanding optic fibers, so the lights could go through. This part was one of the most challenging. First, I tried manual sanding and picked 3000 grains of sanding paper. But, when I sanded material manually, I assume, I broke fiberson certain parts, so a crucial part of material did not work properly when it was connected to neopixels. Then, I found out that I can sand using a special electronic sander. It allowed me to sand a bunch of cut optic fibers at one time. Automatic process kept the feature of the optic fiber to glow and also reduced the amount of wasted material.

After I tested optic fiber strings  on their ability to glow in the dark, I moved to the embroidery part. Inspiring by synchronized swimmers’ compositions I did a pencil sketch and then stitched it to the tulle. Then I made the embdroidery using bright simple colors like orange, pink, yellow, blue, green. I liked the contrast of these bright colors and light blue tulle. 

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The next step was to knit the optic fibers strings and tulle piece. I made a few nodes of optic fibers and connected them with neo pixels using double sided tape, so I could see them while knitting. 

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The lights are activated with the diy sensor made of conductive fabric located on the corners of the scarf: when you put these corners together, the light mode changes and shows the waves and movements of the pool.

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Working on the code was not complicated. I preferred to concentrate on making part. Also, water can be simply seen through blue and white colors. I did some tests with a lights combination, I found a light  animation code online, but did not manage to make it work with Arduino Library. Therefore, I came back to 2 modes: simple blue, and combination of blue, green and white ( when sensor is activated) .

 

One of the goals was to make an object which works, can be worn and makes me satisfied with the work. I kept it simple but bright. I  enjoyed working with optic fibers and its effect. This project actually looks like I imagined in my head in the beginning. 

 

Another step is to make code give a feeling of movements and waves and make it work on Arduino platform. 

Project Context:

David Hockney

David Hockney’s paintings were my main inspiration and reference for this project. He also was fascinated by water reflections, its colour and the ways they can be shown. His paintings Schwimmbad Mitternacht and Portrait of an Artist (Pool With Two Figures) also represent two different modes: day and night, swimming in the pool and observing it. I took these two modes and transferred them for my project: you only see water when it is dark and you see swimmers during the day.

When intense sunlight hits water it reflects in sensuous curves, wobbles off ripples and flickers against a serene surface, in ways that present the artist with remarkable challenges, as Hockney has explained: ‘In the swimming pool pictures, I had become interested in the more general problem of painting the water, finding a way to do it. It is an interesting formal problem; it is a formal problem to represent water, to describe water, because it can be anything. It can be any colour and it has no set visual description.’

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 (Paper Pool 11), 1978

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Portrait of an Artist (Pool With Two Figures) (1972),

Maria Svabrova

Maria Svabrova is a Slovakian artist who captures swimmers in the pool creating various colourful compositions. Her works picture a different pool, usually built in the Socialist Era, in various locations in Slovakia. My wearable is a scarf which is traditionally worn by grandmothers ‘babushkas’. At this point, I also was inspired by soviet aesthetics and they ways I can recreate it today. I find it very interesting to take soviet visuals and put them into a modern reality. Maria takes photos of the swimmers in the space of old pools, while I replaced the old pool by a symbol of that era – babushka’s scarf. What is more,  adding physical computing to this scarf makes it very futuristic and nostalgic at the same time. On the one hand, it looks back at the past and the soviet aesthetics, but on the other hand, there are lights and imprecation, which creates a look of babushkas of the future.

 

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References:

“1970s : Paintings : Works: David Hockney.” 1970s : Paintings : Works | David Hockney, www.hockney.com/works/paintings/70s.
Mariasvarbova.com. “SWIMMING POOL.” Maria Svarbova, www.mariasvarbova.com/swimmingpool-gnkl.
Sperling, Matthew. “The Pull of Hockney’s Pool Paintings.” Apollo Magazine, 13 Nov. 2018, www.apollo-magazine.com/david-hockney-pool-paintings/.
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Chingo Pestañas (an abundance of eyelashes)

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Project Description

General Concept

A decorative fedora designed with the intent of being worn by a musician, ie. a street or small venue performer.  The main feature is painterly decorum that is influenced by the Day Of the Dead artwork from the Mexican holiday Cinqo De Mayo. 

Actuators used

This aesthetic is achieved with glow-in-the-dark paint and a formation of fibre optics that are gathered to form eyelashes around the eye shapes of a partial face. 

Behavior

The concept goal: as the musician plays, the colour of the lights at the ends of the fibres react to the pitch of the music being played (ie. low notes produce one colour / effect, high notes another) .  In the end I produced the effect of an array of colours encircling the eye area 

Parts list

  • Circuit Playground Express (Adafruit)
  • Chinly (0.75 mm) PMMA Plastic end Glow Fiber Optic Cable
  • Glow-in-the-dark paint
  • Adhesive Heat Shrink Tubing (Moveland)
  • Fedora (Found at the Salvation Army)
  • Thread (for attaching the circuit)
  • Battery (type)
  • Circuit Playground Sewable “Light Pipe Case” (by Firepixie, on Thingiverse)

The installation of the fibre optics had been extremely carefully considered and thoroughly researched.  It struck me as all too easy to wind up with bunches of too-fragile or permanently dead-ended fibres on account of poor and/or insecure connections, and I hoped to avoid that at all costs. 

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I came across a 3D printable model on Thingiverse, and since it was the only model I could find that was designed just for the CPX, I went with it.  It’s a simple case with a twistable lid and ten 2.5 mm holes for the neopixels.  It also has openings for both the USB cord and the battery, as well as the option to access the A / B buttons on the CPX .  I don’t have many great things to say about this design, though I learned a lot about what I would revise about the model.  For one thing, the ‘button’ pieces that came with the model proved to be useless.  Though the code was set up to access the lights with the A button, the only way of getting to it was by sticking something small and thin through the hole for the button (not recommded).  Also the socket for the battery was off by a bit, making it pretty inflexible.  Upon testing it out, I quickly discovered the holes were far too small for my .75 mm fibres (I could only fit six fibres in each hole).  The other issue was that on their own, far too flimsy.  Unfortunately, early in my research about working with fibre optics, I had been misinformed about working with a glue gun.  I’d read that using hot glue to seal the ends of the fibres together would result in dimming the light they could transfer.  So I spent many hours troubleshooting many alternatives, none with great results.    

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Some of the attempts at establishing a more secure connection for the base of the fibres (where they meet the neopixels).

Using heat-shrink tubes was effective in creating a covered area around each neopixel, which helped insulate and direct the light through the attached bundle of fibres.  But it was tricky to get the fibres to sit securely in the bundles.  I found that by cramming as many fibres as I could into each tube – that turned out being 16 fibres.   I had to drill each of the holes on the Light Pipe case larger (3.5 mm diameter).

I eventually discovered that a glue gun could be used to seal the base of the bundle, though had to leave this as a final step that could only be done once all the fibres had been implemented in the hat.

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I had actually purchased a black fedora for this project and had just picked up the purple one from the Salvation Army as a tester.  But the glow paint looked so good against the purple that I decided to go with it instead.  

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It took a while to figure out an effective way of threading the strands through the stiff fabric of the hat.  The only way I could do so by piercing holes with a utility knife, leaving the blade in the hole while feeding the strand through the opening.  Each fibre thus took a considerable amount of time to install. 

It was a good learning experience all the same, because in spite of the time it took and the complexity of the physical design, the structure itself was strong and from the code perspective, manageable (that is, until I encountered a port failure when using Arduino and was limited to MakeCode).  I had devoted a fair bit of time to the circuitry of the fibre installation, recalling something Nick Puckett had said in a Creative Compuation class last term about mapping components out in an Excel sheet.  I wanted as much control over the fibre optic lights as possible, avoiding a random array of colours as it can appear kitsch.

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Circuit Diagram that describes how each of the ‘eyelash’ sockets would be connected to the corresponding neopixels on the Circuit Playground Express.  

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The fibres are connected to numbered holes that in turn feed into CPX.  Scotch tape was used to establish temporary connections that would be sealed together with a glue gun once all the fibres were connected.  

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Project Context

The idea was inspired by a musician who I was speaking with recently, who was trying to figure out ways to enhance his performance visually to help captivate his audience while having limited access to props.  A hat seemed the right solution: portable, wearable and with attention directed at the desired focal point (the face).  All the while it’s fun, adds a sense of theatre and drama, with the fibre optics adding an extra layer of music festival style.

Off the bat I knew I wanted to work with fibre optics on account of their visual appeal and potential as an artistic medium.  I set myself certain parameters (ie. it had to be small scale I needed to be able to control the pattern created by the light) and was forced to work with other restrictions (I’d wanted to work with side-emitting fibres but couldn’t get them ordered in time).  I explored countless designs and read many blogs, a process that proved really helpful in terms of brainstorming and trouble-shooting simultaneously.  One of my favourite pieces was the Jelly Fish Skirt, and I considered making a variation of it but I was too intimidated by the notion of working with an RGB strip.  It seemed very expensive both in terms of time and money, but it also left a lot of room for error (at least in my experience).  I seemed wise to stick with the CPX.  I then considered ideas that involved connecting neopixel rings to the CPX and using the latter to light the fibre optics strands, but these additional connections added another layer of complexity.

Gathering what I had learned and observed about fibre optics, it seemed logical to fan them out in a circular fashion, so that they sprouted out from the shape of the CPX while making consistent use of all ten neopixels on the board.  Meanwhile I was still waiting for my coil of fibre optics to arrive, and the research, planning and 3D printing of the case for the CPX took several days.  I had initially designed a detailed pattern for an umbrella inspired by a company called Lumisonata that specializes in luminous products (actually a ‘kids’ umbrella because I’d read that the light carried in the fibres maxed out at 1 – 1.5 feet).  I illustrated the pattern and built out two prototypes, and started working on a prototype.  I soon discovered though, when the fibres did finally arrive, that they actually maxed out at 8 inches at the very most.

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Initial circuit design patterns for the umbrella concept. 

I hit the drawing board again, this time with a new size constraint.  It hadn’t been long into my research journey that I found that where fibre optic wearables are concerned, almost all roads lead to festival art and attire.  Inspired by festival art but with the intent on a piece that could leave the desert and exist easily on the streets, I thought of the upcoming end-of-winter holidays: the Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans, St. Patty’s Day and the most artistically impressive of the lot, Cinco de Mayo.  Finally I remembered the musician, who had in fact been asking me about portable light rigs that could help enhance his performance. 

I was inspired by a brilliant concept by Kaitlyn Hova : a violin that lights up internally according to what notes of the strings.  Hova had designed the violin with the intent of creating visual demonstration of synethesia (the crossing of two senses so that one sense is experienced when reacting to another, ie. in this case, seeing light when hearing sound). 

Since it wasn’t really feasible for me to 3-D print a guitar, the simple use of a hat for a guitar player seemed to finally fit the bill.  For starters, the CPX and fibres could be hidden in the area above the head, I hoped in a way that would not bother the user.  I tested this but could only know so much without the physical installation of the 384 fibres.  Additionally, musicians typically wear hats during performances, and they could serve as a small, portable light show.  But the design would have to be carefully considered: The light ‘show’ couldn’t be distracting for the sake of it, but rather add a subtle magical quality to the musical performance.  Since the end-emitting fibre lights are very small and numerous, it started to make sense to see them more as a complimentary medium to a design rather than the principle feature.  This is what led me to explore glow-in-the-dark paint.  I envisioned an intricately painted concept that lit up above the musician’s face, animated by the fibre optics woven throughout the painted design. 
I searched for ideas that I could build from as far as the hat was concerned but stylistically speaking, most of what I came across seemed a bit too festival/nightlife driven.  This LED-lit straw top-hat appealed to me, although I was aiming for something far different and more elaborate. 
If I were to do this project again, I think I’d opt for a hat with a more spacious head compartment, like a top-hat or a 10-gallon cowboy hat.  I also would have aimed for a less strategic light design than the eyelashes, and opted for something more organic and dispersed. 

Bibliography

  1. Wassong, L. Fiber Optic Jellyfish Skirt.  Instructibles : Circuits.  https://www.instructables.com/id/Jellyfish-Skirt/

  2. Bruner-Yang, E. Could 3-D Printing Save Music Education? From The Long Conversation.  Smithsonian Magazine.  https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/could-3d-printing-save-music-education-180970743/

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Conversational Collar

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Project description

The Conversational Collar is an expressive wearable that responds to conversations around it. Using the sound sensor on the Adafruit CPX, it listening to the surrounding sounds and using a servo motor moves in small waves when someone is talking, like it is calm and is listening and when there is silence it switches into a more excited mode like its speaking or participating by filing in the silences.
It was inspired by the concept of a wearable behaving like a ventriloquist with inspiration form origami apparel and motion based geometric form, inspired from kinetic origami structures, making it geometric but still showing organic movements.

Project Context

During the first exploration I experimented with paper to make a quick prototype and being an origami hobbyist I built a small tessellation structure and hooked it on a servo motor. The simple movement of the folds contracting and relaxing seemed a lot like the breathing of an organism and the opening and closing of the folds looked like it was miming words. Taking feedback from classmates around many came to relate the movement to like the one of the ‘Sorting Hat‘ in Harry Potter and I was inspired to create a wearable that either spoke or responded to sound to be worn in a conversational scenario.

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The next few steps involved testing different tessellation folds and through the iterations I came across the Herring Bone tessellation in the book Folding Techniques for Designers by Paul Jackson. Several kinetic-arduino projects also served as the basis for designing how the movements would look; some of these are Reverse Folding Kinetic Origami and Kinetic Origami Sculpture explorations.

An interesting project I discovered in the space of origami based wearables was VEASYBLE, a set of wearable accessories that can be converted at a touch into a means of isolation. The project is based on three keywords: isolation, intimacy and ornament. It consists of a set of wearable objects that can be converted into means of isolation, to create a personal intimacy in any environment. The idea derives from a reflection on the change in our relationship with the domestic environment, due to the effects of our increasing mobility, and how this has affected our concept of intimacy, creating new demands. It is an ornament that can be worn, a gesture to transform it, a secret place for personal intimacy and a reminder of our exterior aspect.
VEASYBLE is made of paper bonded to polyethylene and fabric, this combination of materials would be most suitable for the next more refined version of the Conversational Collar.

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In the paper, Design Framework for Social Wearables, the authors describe an expressive Wearable as a hat with small fans that fold and unfold when the wearer is experiencing a loud noise, a bright light or a body coming too close. The hat’s movements resemble the bodily gestures of people (Dagan et al. 2019) giving it an expression. Similarly, for the project I chose to use two expressions to represent two states of the wearable: patient and chatty.
Each adjective was used to assign movements to each state such that the structural movement of the paper folds and the speed of the movements display those adjectives. The wearable exhibits two states activated by the voice (sound) made by the wearer. The wearable is designed to be worn close to the mouth and the sound sensor is also fined tuned to respond to decibel volume of a closer range, such that when the wearer talks the sound is picked up by the on-board sound sensor making the collar show patience, like it is listening. When the wearer or a nearby person involved in a conversation, stop talking or are quiet the wearable transitions into the other state that of excited chatter like it actively participating in the conversation.
The activated state achieved in noisy settings and is expressed through the use of a single actuator(micro servo motor) that is used in multiple modes to then transition into a more excitedly pulsating motion when the setting is silent. When in either of these states, the wearable still exhibits some dynamic behaviour through the actuator movements causing the paper folds to contract and relax and simultaneous appear to pulsate.

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The Process of making

Choice of Aesthetics
Because I wanted the wearable to respond to the voice of the wearer or the person having a conversation with the wearer, I decided to build it like collar around the neck, close to the mouth to catch the subtle sounds made by the wearer.  I chose paper as the material to obtain the folded structure in the short duration of the project. White paper was chosen again for logistic reason for ease of access and making and through making it served as a good material to highlight the folds with the shadow and light play on the mountain and valley folds.

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close-ups1

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The paper structure was folded in geometric tessellations folds to give it structure that could easily move with the servo motor and mounted on a fabric. The electronics were attached to the fabric with was cut to be easily snapped around the neck like a bow or tie or neckpiece. The paper structure was made up of three A4 sheets folded and joined together to have dense folds as one wears it and the density of the structure helps to show the movement with the motor. On pull the folds are pulled apart and then regain their original positions creating an accordion like movement. The poetic symbolism of the accordion movement also fit well with the position of the wearable being on the neck near the vocal chords- when one is tired or not talking, the collar takes over and creates sounds and movements to appear chatty.

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Parts list

  • Adafruit Circuit Playground Express
  • On-board sound sensor
  • Servo motor (full rotation micro servo)
  • Alligator clips
  • Connector Wires
  • Paper
  • Clear string
  • Fabric
  • Snap buttons
  • Thread
  • Safety pins

The Circuit Diagram

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fabric

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Clear string attached along the spine of the fold.

Project code is available on Github here.

References

Dagan, Ella, et al. “Design Framework for Social Wearables.” Proceedings of the 2019 on Designing Interactive Systems Conference  – DIS ’19, ACM Press, 2019, pp. 1001–15. DOI.org (Crossref), doi:10.1145/3322276.3322291.

Hartman, Kate, Make: Wearable Electronics, Maker Media, 2014.

Jackson, Paul, and an O’Reilly Media Company Safari. Folding Techniques for Designers. 2011. Open WorldCat, https://www.safaribooksonline.com/complete/auth0oauth2/&state=/library/view//9781856697217/?ar.

Origami Herringbone Tessellation | Tutorial. YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nw5RLvN7fYA&t=14s%3E. Accessed 3 Mar. 2020.
VEASYBLE. http://www.veasyble.com/projecteng.html. Accessed 3 Mar. 2020.
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Head In The Clouds

Project Description

Head In The Clouds is a head wrap that visualizes the changes in the sky from the sun to the moon. It is both a fashion and art piece meant to represent the mind in its most pensive and introspective hours of the day, early mornings and late at nights. Using a switch, located in the center of the headwrap the user can change the ambiance of the neopixels from a serene blue, to a hopeful sunrise orange.

The night state symbolizes intentional deep reflection into one’s hopes, and dreams, thoughts that often creep into one’s mind in the late hours of the night. Sometimes these thoughts can evoke a sense of peace and optimism but they can also create intense anxiety and uncertainty of the future. I wanted to reflect this emotional state by creating a soft pulsing blue-violet light that occasionally becomes disrupted by flashing white lights, reminiscent of lightning. This light pattern is meant to represent the calmness and tranquility of nightly reflection being threatened by a storm of self-doubt.

The morning state symbolizes the more autonomous aspects of the mind, these are implicit thoughts that we may not even realize are present but effectively make life more meaningful. For example, the hopefulness of creating a family, or the simple pleasure of having a cup of tea in the morning. To reflect this subconscious state of mind I wanted the light pattern to fade from a dark red-orange to a bright yellow-orange and red gradient. This light pattern is meant to represent the rising sun giving energy to the interconnected networks of life around us.

Part List 

  1. Circuit Playground Express
  2. Conductive Thread
  3. Non-stranded wire roll (red, yellow, black)
  4. Neopixels (2)
  5. Cotton Balls
  6. Hot Glue Gun
  7. Fabric Belt

Final Photos

Night

whatsapp-image-2020-03-03-at-8-50-07-pm

Day

day-pic

Code

Github Link to Code

Circuit Diagram 

cpx3x

Process

Originally, I wanted to create a surgical face mask with a flower at the mouth that would visualize the real-time breathing rate of the user by blooming in and out with the pace of their breath. I put together a mood board that reflected the aspects of fashion, technology, and fabrication that I wanted to incorporate in my own piece.

 

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Then I did some research to analyze the various way in which breath can be sensed using wearable sensors. I found three examples of breath sensing wearables that I found to be particularly impactful and I noticed that they were all geared towards promoting some aspect of health. For example, the Baby Blanket is geared towards measuring the breadth and stability of a baby while sleeping. I also found the Everyday Health Tracker which is very similar to the baby blanket but it’s for adults and is a clip-on that is more practical for the office. 

Next, I did some research to try and figure out how I would build a servo-controlled flower that could bloom in and out. I found this Blooming Origami Paper Flower Tutorial and built a rough prototype to try and understand what kind of mechanics would be necessary for the final build. Once I had the prototype I had planned on 3D printing a similar model for the final build.

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Prototype: Blossom Flower Skeleton Video

Prototype Blossoming Flower Video

Furthermore,  I came across this Breath Sensor Mask – Adafruit Sensor tutorial which I found really helpful. However, when trying to purchase the gas sensor needed to build the project I came to realize that it was not available in any stores near me and to order it online would cost way more in shipping costs than the sensor itself. At this point, I had to pivot my project and brainstorm other ways that I could execute an expressive wearable technology. 

I started by solely working on the code and the neopixels provided in the Circuit Playground Express. My idea stemmed from a particular day when I was watching the sunset into what seemed like a  kaleidoscope of colors. I wanted to see if I could recreate the color and ambiance of the setting sun, so I created a variety of light patterns. The first task was to create a code that made the lights fade in and out very smoothly. Next, I programmed the switch on the CPX to change the states when switched on/off. Then, I focused my attention on creating color schemes that I thought were expressive of the changing patterns that I saw in the sky. Some of the light patterns I created were: The setting sun, the night sky, the starry night sky, and the bright blue day sky. From these four I found that the sunset and the starry night sky were the most impactful in the dark. However, I had some problems trying to get the string LEDs to work so, I had to discard them and settle for a more clear night sky light pattern instead.

Starry Night

Prototype Starry Night Light Pattern Video
Furthermore, I had to solder the additional neopixels to wires so that I could sew the conductive thread around the wires, through the belt fabric, and onto the CPX. Lastly, I hot glued cotton balls to diffuse all the neopixels. Originally I had planned to use a Tulle fabric but when I tried this the fabric did not diffuse as well as I would have liked it too. Incidentally, I had some cotton balls nearby on my desk so I tried them  I really liked the cloud-like diffusion effect they brought to the piece. One lesson I learned from this process is that hot glue and conductive thread don’t work well together. I had no trouble getting the neopixels to work before hot gluing the cotton balls onto the fabric. However, after I had smeared hot glue all over my connections I noticed that the consistency and reliability of the light patterns began to change. In future projects, I will definitely make more efforts to glue around conductive areas to prevent any conductive interference.

Final Video 

Night State Video

Day State Video

 

 

 

 

 

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Angry Bag

01

PROJECT TITLE
Angry Bag

PROJECT BY
Priya Bandodkar

DOCUMENTATION VIDEO

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Emotion: Anger

Actuators: LED Light, Servo Motor

‘Angry Bag’ is a bag that doesn’t like being overloaded. If overburdened, it blinks a warning. If not acted upon in time, it gets aggravated and opens the bottom flap, dumping all the things inside it onto the ground.

The bag is installed with a circuit enabled by an analog pressure sensor on the bottom flap. When loaded beyond its threshold, the analog switch senses and turns on the circuit, making the LED blink as an indication (State one). If the user fails to act and reduce the weight within a specified timeframe, the servo motor holding the bottom flap rotates to open the flap (State two), thus dumping everything in the bag onto the floor.

The entire bag is designed from scratch and built by laser-cutting and assembling Birch Plywood for the prototype. The use of wood lent a clean, sturdy and appealing form to the bag. The choice of building from scratch helped avoid the technical and aesthetic restrictions that came about from augmenting an existing bag.

PORFOLIO IMAGES

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02 03 04 05

CONCEPT, PROCESS, DESIGN CHOICES

Concept

I invested relatively more time in planning the design and functionality during the ideation phase because of the following reasons:

  • Every part of the of the circuit was going to be on a different side of the bag: Adafruit CPX board on the inside of the back, servo motor on the outside of the back, LED on the outside of the front and analog switch on the inside of the bottom flap. All of them needed to function in tandem without interfering with each other.
  • Since this piece was small in size as compared to the parts it had to carry, the available real estate had to be well-used.
  • The bag was designed from scratch and would be laser cut, hence the design needed to be as precise as possible during ideation to avoid wastage of material.

01_concept

Physical Design

Body Material: ¼” Birch Plywood

Fabrication method: Laser-cutting

Sling Material: Metal sling

02_laser-cut-diagram 03_laser-cut

Since all circuit parts were on different sides of the bag, having a sturdy outer form was crucial to maintain the integrity of the circuit and the overall functionality. Hence, the choice of a hard geometric form built from scratch. The flaps were connected to the sides using hinges, so they could rotate smoothly to open. This overall design choice also helped avoid technical and aesthetic restrictions that would’ve come about from augmenting an existing bag.

Technical Design

The working of the servo motor was crucial to the overall functionality of the wearable. I realised there were two potential ways of using the servo motor to open the bottom flap:

  1. Attaching it the side edge of the flap to control the motion.
  2. Using it as a latch, which on rotation would release the flap to open under the influence of gravity.

I went for the latter one because I think it was wiser putting gravity to work, instead of leaving the pressure on the servo to drive the motion along with and against gravity.

I started by assembling the front, sides (using glue) and bottom flap (using a hinge), leaving the back open till the entire functioning was well-tested. I then secured the analog switch on the bottom flap, the Adafruit CPX on the inside of the back, servo on the outside of the back using double-sided tape and glue. I covered the bottom analog sensor with a yellow felt, and secured all ends of the wires with insulation tape.

04_technical

Throughout the ideation, my biggest worry was not knowing the capacity of the servo motor to sustain the weight of the entire form. This was the most uncertain part of the logistics. I had to be mindful to keep the bag weight to its optimal. I realised that the bag looked like a ‘bag’ with or without the top flap. Since it was no more a crucial aspect of the aesthetics, I decided to let go of the top flap, thus reducing the overall weight. To my relief, the setup worked and the servo motor worked perfectly.

Coding

The code simply uses data from the analog sensor on the bottom flap, which is triggered by the weight of the objects inside the bag. The analog threshold makes the LED to start blinking. Each LED blink is linked to a counter. Thus once the counter reaches a specified count, the servo motor rotates and sets the bottom flap to open.

Aesthetics

I had a geometric, boxy form in mind for this wearable from the very beginning. I believed it was important in order to bring out the two states expressing the emotion distinctly. I consciously didn’t want the emotion to be lost because of the form. This choice proved just right for the purpose. Also, lent a clean look to the wearable. On the front side, I purposefully engraved a geometric pattern that resembled the shape of eyebrows when angry, thus accentuating the emotion through the design. I placed the LED above this, in the centre (trying to represent hot-headed/also the third angry eye belief prominent in Indian mythology). The servo motor was hidden on the read end, and circuit was hidden within the bag, thus creating a clean-looking, contemporary electronic wearable.

05_aesthetics

PARTS LIST

Part Source
Adafruit Circuit Playground Express Board Creatron Inc
LED Light Creatron Inc
Servo Motor Creatron Inc
Analog Sensor (Velostat, Conductive Fabric, Neoprene) Re-used materials provided by Kate during class
Wires, Resistor Creatron Inc
Birch Plywood Ground Floor, 100 McCaul
Metal Sling Re-used from a worn out bag

CIRCUIT DIAGRAM

circuit-diagram

CODE ON GITHUB

https://github.com/priyabandodkar/Angry_Bag_v1

PROJECT CONTEXT

Since the beginning of class, I had an inclination for concepts that involved designing an electronic wearable bag entirely from scratch or augmenting existing bags, be it handbags or backpacks. This so, because personally, I have a tendency of overloading my handbags and backpacks, without being mindful of the weight, eventually wearing them out faster and totally straining my shoulders and back. Below are some of the other ideas I had devised while brainstorming for the ‘Textile Interface Project’, which revolved around bags.

07_old-concept

I found inventions in the realm of electronic wearable bags, particularly luggage bags that proposed ‘smart’ design solutions. For example, suitcases like the Incase ProConnected (https://incasedesigns.ca/pages/proconnected) or the Genius Packed Supercharged (https://www.geniuspack.com/) provide charging solutions while on-the-go.

08_smart-luggage
Image sources: https://incasedesigns.ca/pages/proconnected
https://www.geniuspack.com/

Another very intriguing design solution that innovatively address luggage weight was the Modobag (https://modobag.com/), the first-of-its kind motorised carry-on travel bag, that could double as a motor scooter using a built-in seat and footrest, helping you navigate through the airport without having to walk. A solution for travellers who would rather sit and steer as they make their way through the airport and go through the long lines. The scooter is capable of delivering at a speed of 8 miles per hour, and can go about 6 miles on a single charge. Whether ridden or dragged, it has two USB ports to keep devices charged. Moreover, it has an optional GPS system to keep track of the Modobag itself. However, the bag weighs a hefty 10 pounds when empty, thus leading to inconvenience when not being ridden. This got me more mindful about keeping a check on the weight while building the Angry Bag.

09_modobag
Image source: https://modobag.com/

Another design solution that was a closer reference to the weight aspect of my exploration was the self-weighing bag by the British Company, Expert Verdict, that had an LCD display below the handle depicting the weight of the contents in the bag (https://newatlas.com/self-weighing-suitcase/15032/).

A cutting-edge wearable bag project that sparked my attention was the “Smart handbag as a public wearable display”, which was a smart bag that had a display screen which could be accessed using the phone. The bag screen had six different visualization styles to show the content items in various degrees of detail. The main versatility of this project, in my opinion, lied in the affordance this screen offered, from displaying contents present inside the bag to using it to  matching the handbag to other surfaces on which it is placed, or to match the day’s attire. This was referenced as the chameleon effect.

10_display-bag
Image source: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/296676573_Smart_Handbag_as_a_Wearable_Public_Display_-_Exploring_Concepts_and_User_Perceptions

Synthesising these inspirations, I thought this project was a great opportunity to not only assess the weight of the contents and make the bag ‘smart’ but also add a unique perspective by making the bag ‘emotional’. Using a sequential process of blinking an LED and a rotating servo using a counter in the code that worked as a stopwatch, I was able to lend a personality to a boxy form. And thus evolved ‘Angry Bag’.

LESSONS LEARNED, NEXT STEPS

  • Use textile mediums for connections such as conductive fibre or fabric, instead of wires to making the circuit cleaner, more ‘invisible’.
  • Create the final model using semi-transparent acrylic to show off the electrical assembly, as opposed to hiding it and accentuate the bag’s personality of being an ‘emotional electronic’.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Coomes, Kailla. “Bags with Brains: Smart Luggage and Gadgets Are Making Travel Smoother.” Digital Trends, Digital Trends, 18 Mar. 2019, www.digitaltrends.com/business/best-smart-luggage/.

“ProConnected.” Incase Canada, incasedesigns.ca/pages/proconnected.

Genius Pack. “Extremely Functional Luggage, Innovative Travel Products.” Genius Pack, www.geniuspack.com/.

“Modobag® – The World’s ONLY Motorized, Smart, Connected Carry-on Luggage!” Modobag, modobag.com/.

Martin, Rick. “Self-Weighing Suitcase Knows Exactly How Heavy It Is.” New Atlas, 2 May 2015, newatlas.com/self-weighing-suitcase/15032/.

Colley, Ashley & Pakanen, Minna & Koskinen, Saara & Mikkonen, Kirsi & Häkkilä, Jonna. Smart Handbag as a Wearable Public Display – Exploring Concepts and User Perceptions, 2016, 10.1145/2875194.2875212.

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Ocean’s Heartbeat

Project description
Ocean’s heartbeat is an expressive wearable that displays human heartbeats on the blinking pattern in lights of the design of the coral reef on the T-shirt.
As a nature lover, I’ve always been drawn to the beauty of its inhabitants and feel deeply connected to them. Through the connection between the behavior of the lights on the coral reef and the wearer’s heartbeat, Ocean’s heartbeat intends to unite humans and nature as a whole. It sends a poetic message that humans should learn to coexist with nature and we are a part of nature. It also brings to attention through this piece that our actions will have a big impact on nature.
The light sensor on the Adafruit circuit playground express is used to function as a pulse sensor in this project. Through the absorption of green light emitted by one neopixel light on the board, the light sensor on it detects and gives a reading of the difference in the value of the light. Programmed to display the heartbeat pattern, other neopixel lights therefore blink at the same rate as the wearer’s heart rate, and the light will be transmitted to the ends of fiber optics. This intermingle between humankind and nature invites people to ponder the relationship between the two. Ocean’s heartbeat is not merely an aesthetic piece but also functions as a wake up call for humans to reflect on whether their behavior is causing harm to nature.

Final photos

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Parts list
Adafruit Circuit Playground Express
Fiber Optics
Fabric for wedding party
Threads

Circuit diagram or schematic

hail-the-big-squirrel

Code

https://github.com/jessiez0810/wearable2/blob/master/Pulse_with_lights.ino

Process photos and notes

img-1406

When I first started using fiber optics, I realized it’s very hard to secure them in a certain position so all the fiber optics will capture light and have their ends light up. A glue gun was used to solve this problem by gluing the ends of fiber optics to ensure that the light will be captured, diffused and transmitted to all the strands. I also used threads to sew the fiber optic bundles to the clothes in an attempt to stop them from moving. However, it doesn’t have that much with the issue. A new method is needed for it.

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Felt was cut in pieces of different lengths and widths and rolled up to represent the corals in a stylized way. Vibrant colors were chosen not only because I personally like bright colors but also coral reefs have bright colors.

pulse_sensor

I tested the pulse sensor separately to make sure it will detect my pulse and it worked. The graph shows a pretty good reading of my heartbeat. My original plan was to use the board as the pulse sensor and add external LEDs that react to the pulse sensor so the lights on the board won’t affect the readings of the light/pulse sensor. However, the sketch didn’t work so I had to compromise and used the neopixels on the board instead.

Fiber optics pulsing with my heartbeat.

Any supporting illustrations or diagrams

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Concept for how to arrange the fiber optics

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My initial idea to hide Adafruit CPX, LED and glued ends of fiber optics at the back of the T-shirt.

Lessons learned / next steps
I had a really hard time connecting an external LED to the circuit. The external LED would blink on its own while using the example code. However, when I migrate the example blinking sketch to the pulse detection sketch which I created, the external LED just wouldn’t light up at all. This has led me to wonder if there’s a conflict in the syntax between the standard Arduino library and the Circuit Playground library. It is something to investigate later. This caused me to stick to the rest of the neopixels on the board for displaying the heartbeat pattern.
However, this caused another problem. Since the light sensor is located on the board as well, if the neopixels are set too bright, it messes up the heartbeat detection. If it’s not as bright, the fiber optics will appear quite dim. The next step for me then is to play with the numbers on the brightness of the neopixels, or perhaps try a different way to use external lights for displaying the heartbeat. Ideally I want the board to only function as a heartbeat detector. Another thing to consider is where and how to hide the ends of fiber optics as right now they are exposed. Next step is to perhaps stitch something on top to cover them.

Project Context
My love for nature started when I was a kid. Growing up with the Disney animated film The Little Mermaid (1989) and Pocahontas (1995), nature, especially the underwater world has always been a place of magic for me. The disney films created this world where humans and animals live in peace and harmony and go on adventures together as friends in the beautiful natural world animators created. The idea that humans can communicate with wild animals and nature is fascinating to me. I always believe that there’s a certain connection between us and nature because we are in fact a part of it.


However, it seems that we live in a world where humans forget how to coexist with nature, with more and more news about climate change and environmental disasters happening on a more frequent basis. Global warming, plastic pollution, oil spills at sea and so on are the direct consequences of our careless and thoughtless actions which have had negative impacts on the environment. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts and fires happen more and more frequently. It pained many people to know the fire that happened at the Amazon forest last summer for example caused a great amount of deforestation. I believe these are signs that we need to reevaluate our relationship with nature.
This project gives me a good opportunity to do that. Doing a nature-inspired wearable project encourages me to explore this somewhat philosophical question as wearables are quite intimate items which we wear close to our skin. This proximity between the wearable with nature design elements and the human body represents the entangled and complex relationship between humans and nature.
Then it comes to the decision of visual design that represents nature. A lot of fashion designers have also taken inspiration from underwater creatures to their clothing design. The Dutch Fashion designer Iris van Herpen is one amongst the many fashion designers who are fascinated by the deep ocean. The folds and curves in the fabric mimics the organic form of not only the underwater plants but also the wave of water. The silky texture of the clothes also represents the free-flowing nature of the water.


I eventually decided to coral reefs to represent nature. The reason is two-folded. I used to love watching BBC documentaries about the underwater world and was drawn to the beauty of it. I always love the look of coral reefs because of their dynamic shapes. They are like underwater flowers! Clusters of corals give off a sense of vibrancy and vitality which is a great representation of the liveness in nature. Corals also give off fluorescence light which I used fiber optics to represent to add to the aesthetics of the design of the wearable.

Moreover, it also connects to the idea of environmental damages of nature as coral reefs are on the edge of disappearing because of multiple reasons including the warming of ocean, overfishing, pollution and etc.
On top of the visual representation, I used the pulse sensor on the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express to create connectivity between humans and nature. Heartbeats, which are closely associated with the idea of life and existence are detected and visually represented through neopixels in a blinking pattern. The light then is transmitted through the the fiber optics connected to the neopixels and displayed at the tips of the fiber optics which is a part of the coral design to represent the fluorescence of corals. It creates an interesting relationship between human actions (placing their fingers on the pulse sensor on the board) and nature reaction (lights in the coral design blink at the same rate as the heart rate of the person who’s touching the board), which provokes people to reflect on this relationship.

Reference

Acevedo, Sebastian. and Novta, Natalija. Climate Change Will Bring More Frequent Natural Disasters & Weigh on Economic Growth 2017. Web. March 2nd, 2020. https://blogs.imf.org/2017/11/16/climate-change-will-bring-more-frequent-natural-disasters-weigh-on-economic-growth/

BBC Earth. Fluorescent Coral Glows in the Depth of the Ocean | BBC Earth. 2018. YouTube. Web. March 2nd, 2020.

DisneyMusicVEVO. The Little Mermaid – Under the Sea (from The Little Mermaid) (Official Video). 2013. YouTube. Web. March 2nd, 2020.

Hughes, Roland.  Amazon fires: What’s the latest in Brazil? 2019. Web. March 2nd, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-49971563

Iris van Herpen. Iris van Herpen | Ludi Naturae. 2018. YouTube. Web. March 2nd, 2020.

jmmynewland. Paths-up-expeditions-in-computing-ret2018. 2018. Web. March 2nd, 2020. https://github.com/jimmynewland/paths-up-expeditions-in-computing-ret2018/blob/master/CircuitPlaygroundExpressPPG-starter.ino

Jahnke, Art. Inside the search for a coral killer. 2018. Web. March 2nd, 2020. https://www.bu.edu/articles/2018/why-coral-reefs-are-dying/

 

 

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Heart Skips a Beat

 

Heart Skips a Beat

NEO NUO CHEN

  • Project description:

This project is an easy to wear vest made out of a pair of old jeans, with a cut-and-sew heart using felt as its material. The heart is being controlled by the circuit express playground board, and a servo as the actuator to pull the thread attached to the heart to mimic the mechanism of a heart beating. The Neopixels on the board would gradually light up one after one to sync with the “heartbeat”. When the left button on the board is being pressed, all the Neopixels would turn into pink color and the servo would stop for a few seconds, it expresses the concept of “Heart Skips a Beat”.

  • Final photos:

hhh hhh2 hhh3 mmm

  • Circuit diagram or schematic

screen-shot-2020-03-03-at-12-42-18

  • link to code on GitHub

https://github.com/NeonChip/NeoC/blob/master/wearable%20project2

  • Process photos and notes and supporting illustrations.

Before starting this project, there’s a pair of ripped jeans that I had since the beginning of this semester, and instead of throwing them away, I’ve always wanted to turn that into something new. So I kind of played with the placement of the jeans on myself and see how it would inspire me, eventually, I made my decision by simply making it into a vest, because it could fit on different body shapes and easy to put on/take off.

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Once I know what I wanted to make, I started to cut the jeans apart and sew the edges to make them clean and the orange thread gives the look a vibrant touch.

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The most difficult part for me would be the placement of the actuator and how should it be looked like when working, I had multiple ideas but the key part would be placed at where the heart is located.

img_7139

Here I am with my initial design that aimed to have a flower blossoming movement at heart, to make this work, I looked up some videos to learn its mechanism and tried to figure out how to recreate that. I made the flower with felt and used a cup to hide the servo and everything else inside, it didn’t work as I imagined probably due to the material I chose, if I went for a more smooth material, it had more potential to perform its purpose.

img_6941 img_7126

Then I had the idea that since the placement is at the heart, why not just make an “artificial heart” which mimics the movement of a heart beating. I used a fabric pen to mark the outline of a heart shape on two pieces of felt and cut them out, stuffed it with cotton balls and stitched around to secure the shape.

img_7139-copy

img_6942 img_6945-2 img_6946 img_6948

After the heart was made, it was time to create the pumping heart mechanism, I searched for a supporting part to give it the bounce and my eyes landed on a spring cat toy, which came in the perfect size and color. I used hot glue to bond the spring to a transparent dome and the felted heart, with a thread going through in between which tied to the servo arm for movement.

img_6955 img_7167

Knowing that it’s working as I expected, I then moved on to the assembly process by settling the position of everything, in the meantime, my original plan was to cover the dome but I somehow liked the way it was showing the electronic part and how it works, which goes really well with the artificial concept.

img_6961 img_6962 img_6965 img_6971

  • lessons learned / next steps

I’ve always considering that materials could be reused and how to create a sustainable design method is rather crucial nowadays, for this project, I was using a pair of ripped jeans as the main carrier for my design. This is something that I’m interested in and will potentially explore more.

  • Project Context

My project was meant to explore how to express an emotional statement in a more physical and tangible way. We hear people say things like “my heart just skips a beat” when they encountered something that’s triggering their emotion, it could be happy or thrilling. I firstly aimed to present that by using the flower blossoming mechanism, also I felt like a flower is a good metaphor. I started to look up related projects and tutorials online and I found a couple videos that were inspiring. Below is a project called Touch Me Not by Neha Shrestha & Rudransh Mathur, they created an artificial flower that would close its petals when the conductive thread being touched, mimicking the plant mimosa pudica. This project gave me the idea of using a similar mechanism to present the ideal flower blossom in my expectation. I also tried another tutorial as shown below, which allowed me to build the flower with cardboard and paper. U unfortunately, both of these methods did not perfectly suit my design, especially since I wanted them to be attached to a human chest position, it would be hard to hide and perform its purpose.

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Touch Me Not by Neha Shrestha & Rudransh Mathur

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Origami Flower that Open and Closes: Paper Flower by DIY Queen

 

After decided to move on to the felted heart design, I found it easier and somewhat vivid in terms of the movement of a beating heart. And then, I found this project called EMO created by Ping-Chieh, Hsieh, Jung Tu, Wimwomwan Wichiaikhamjorn, they designed this wearable piece and thinking it like a self-critique tool that could prove the thought and in the same time differentiate these two states. I noticed that they were using a muscle sensor and LED strips which I think at this moment, most of us are expressing different emotions with colors and that was based on a scientific reason and common sense, colors have been used to describe emotions for ages and that’s why I chose to use multiple colors that light up with a rainbow effect along with the heartbeat movement because I think that was the most “neutral” way to represent it, as for the pinkish color I chose to present “heart skips a beat” was because I didn’t want to make the stop seems too extreme, after all, it is not aimed to express a single emotion, it could be either happy or thrilling.

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EMO by Ping-Chieh, Hsieh, Jung Tu, Wimwomwan Wichiaikhamjorn

 

Along my journey of researching, this project really caught my eyes, the designer used Arduino as the microcontroller to send out the signal for movements. The LEDs are being triggered by hands inside the pockets, I assumed it was a button hidden which doing the job. The eyeballs were attached to servos which will be activated when the microphone captures the source of the sound. This is an interesting project that not only using LEDs to express emotions, but also using servos to create movements to bring things to life. It inspired me to go for both movement and light since I was debating which one I should be focusing on more. At the same time, the designer managed to hide everything underneath the garment which went well with the design, as for my project, I chose to show the electronic parts because I think that suited my concept more and completed my design in an unusual way.

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Wearable technology: a dress activated by Arduino by Michal Stern

 

  • References

“EMO – Emotive wearable to explore a field of human’s emotional feelings through wearable.” YouTube video, 1:01. “J Du” Jul 2, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xneovFQ9Bb8

“Interactive Touch Flower Prototype (touch me not)” YouTube video, 1:11. “ArtScience BLR” Mar 15, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Tt0xLZ7c-g

“Wearable technology: a dress activated by Arduino” YouTube video, 0:33. “Shushonet” Apr 16, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q88P-FdoecI

“Origami Flower that Open and Closes: Paper Flower” YouTube video, 5:46. “DIY QUEEN” Mar 6, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61_Bm20XjMU

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