LED Heart Alpaca Bracelet by Hortensia
I love alpaca fibre, is soft, light, breathable and hypoallergenic. I weaved this bracelet while trying to learn how to weave. I love textile jewelry because wearing them are very comfortable, I made a necklace of alpaca fibre too.
Now I tried to incorporated lights to this bracelet to see how it looks.
In this project I used fairy light strip and shaped as a heart, I sewed these light on top with regular thread of the bracelet. The “heart” lights fade following a heartbeat and inside the “heart” there are three groups of blinking sewable LED lights. The LED lights blink at three different rates: slow, medium and fast blinking. The piece represents a beating, sparkling heart –a sign of love– and lighting is applied on top of an alpaca bracelet but I sewed these lights under the bracelet, then light come through the textile, I want to have a subtle light, not so intense. I like how the light were show all together.
The fairy light strip and each group of LED lights have its own connection to the Arduino Nano 33 IoT board. Each connection uses a different port on the Arduino board for the positive, that way the program can apply the corresponding effects and blinking or fading rates. The Arduino code combines the fading and blinking basic examples, but uses proportional refresh rates for fading and blinking, since multiples delays did not produce the desired effect (delays accumulate and fading and blinking became all too slow).
The piece is quite light, around 100g, which meets the weight wearability criteria for the wrist by Clint Zeagler’s video (Zeagler, 2018), which specifies under 0.5lb for this part of the body.
Since I started testing the circuits using the Arduino Nano 33 IoT, I learnt the final result did not meet the portability criteria to be strictly wearable. Perhaps the Arduino Nano 33 IoT was not the best board selection, because it has been designed to be used on a breadboard or a socket, not precisely a sewable board. I know the Adafruit’s “Circuit Playground Express” would have been a much better option, since it does not have pins and it has holes that can be used to be sewed on a piece of fabric. This board could have been powered with two 3V coin batteries, which would have been enough for low power lights like the ones I used, and this would have met the portability criteria for wearability. The most important for me doing this prototype was learnt how to do the connectivity, build circuits and try to use the Nano 33 IOT which I never used in my life.
Prototype Image 1
Detail Image 1
Detail Image 2
Prototype Image 2
Prototype Image 3
Part & Materials
Alpaca weaving bracelet
Arduino Nano IoT 33
5 Pink LilyPad LED
2 White LilyPad LED
Below the circuit diagram. As you can see, there are three sets of LED lights inside the heart, this was made with the fairy light strip. Each set of LED lights as well as the fairy light strip have their own red wire (positive), which connects to a different port in the Arduino board, that way they can get different effects each.
Each red wire line does not touch each other, also red and black wires do not touch. We are using a USB portable charger showed on the diagram below to power this project, but for this project to be wearable we would probably have to use a set of coin batteries.
Testing my LED circuit
“Light-up LED Cuff / Bracelet With Magnetic Switch (e-textile)” (Dawson, 2017)
When I started with this project, I tried to find simple guidelines to understand how to connect and sew conductive thread to integrate into my textile (weaving). I found this helpful website, easy to follow and with clear directions, maybe too easy to understand because it was a project for primary school students, but it was good for my first prototype. I watched the video tutorial that help me on doing my sewing with the conductive thread. I recommend this to anybody who is pretty new on e-wearability.
“Making a Face Mask with ANIMATIONS!!” (Nedforge, 2020)
This was the design that inspired me for this project. Although I did not do a face mask and did not use the LED Matrix, which was built with individual addressable LED strips, this was an interesting project. I did not know the LED Matrix and the supporting software existed. On the down side, welding was required for this project and I do not have a soldering iron yet. The idea of light animation inspired me to use sewable lights in my bracelet. Maybe in my next project I could use a LED Matrix to create more light animations.
“Actualizer: LED Bracelets” (Actua Canada, 2016)
This was the terrible animation, because although was a simple project like the the first example “Light -Up Led Cuff” the explanation was not clear, the video helps but the explanation was unclear, the design was very sloppy and there is not a list of the material needed to make this project. I think is because the first example was address to school students the demonstration, video, photos and list of materials was clear like a lesson for students in the classroom which could be used for a school teacher to do this project in class.
Actua Canada; “Actualizers: LED Bracelets”. September 20, 2016. In: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xc7uony7pYo
Dawson, Jill; “Light-up LED Cuff / Bracelet With Magnetic Switch (e-textile)”. 2017. In: https://www.instructables.com/Light-up-LED-Cuff-Bracelet-With-Magnetic-Switch-e-/
Nedforge; “Making a Face Mask with ANIMATIONS!!”. May 12, 2020. In: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNogUc4_8GM&feature=youtu.be
Zeagler, Clint; “Where to wear it”. July 15, 2018. In: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwRcPTddS0k&feature=youtu.be