Massage Spike Chair

* Strategy:

the testing that interested me the most was the array of motors. The potential to move a vibration across a surface or body part felt like a fun area of exploration and I was reminded of an idea I had had last year for a feedback chair. Designing, refinishing and rebuilding furniture has always been a hobby of mine and I have been waiting for an opportunity to incorporate some furniture into some of the electronics explorations I have been doing. Naturally, since my concerns are often with weird pleasures and BDSM aesthetics I envision this chair to be a combination massage chair/nail bed.

* Documentation:

For the small prototype version of the chair I wanted to test out how the vibration would feel through a patter of clothing spikes (like the ones we put in our coats when we were young punks), so I decided to make a small pad with just a few motors. The final goal would be to take an old wooden chair and replace the cushion with one a custom made pad like the one made for this test.

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the important pieces.

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extending the wires

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gluing everything way too much so that the wired don’t pull out as I had been warned that this often happened

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I ended up putting an extra layer of leather around the motors as the upper level with the spikes was not laying flat and needed some more support.

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the final pile

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hooking it up to the arduino

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I realized there was no good way to make a video of it as the vibrations are not strong enough to show up, but it was pleasant, less painful than anticipated and much more distinct in the area of vibrations that I expected. the vibration patter was simple and just cycled through the three motors. moving forward it would be nice to experiment with writing more complex patterns.

video of testing that shows the code working:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/MRXSETV575SupQzt9

very simple code:

int VIB1 = 9;
int VIB2 = 5;
int VIB3 = 10;

// the setup function runs once when you press reset or power the board
void setup() {
  // initialize digital pin LED_BUILTIN as an output.
  pinMode(VIB1, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(VIB2, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(VIB3, OUTPUT);
}

// the loop function runs over and over again forever
void loop() {
    analogWrite(VIB1, 255);
    delay(1000);
    analogWrite (VIB1,0);
    analogWrite(VIB2, 255);
    delay(1000);
    analogWrite(VIB2,0);
    analogWrite(VIB3,255);
    delay(1000);
    analogWrite(VIB3,0);

}

* Insights:

I think one of the big takeaways from this process is that the placement of the motors and the placement of the spikes will be the most important element to finesse in the version of the chair. If the spikes are too far apart they won’t form enough of a surface to support weight and will just becoming painful. They will also be very difficult to align if they have space between them to fall over, since this thin leather is quite stretchy. It’s possible that the leather used will have to be much stiffer in order to let them sit flat. Originally, I though the motors would need to be placed quite close together, but in order for them to be distinct they need to have quite a bit of space from one another, which is very nice in a practicality sense due to them being expensive and also the port limit of the board I have been working with (feather M0). I will probably be looking into working with a Mega for the final chair as I envision the spikes and motors lining not only the seats but also the back, and even with the allowance of space between motors, the surface area of a chair will probably require more than the 13 ports on the feather. The mega is also a 5v bolt which produces much more pleasing vibrations than the 3v feather, which in this version is quite weak.

 

* Information sources:  n/a

* Next Steps:

The next major steps are the start working it into chair form. Sourcing good wooden chairs has always been as little tricky, but I have found a few that I may be picking up soon. I think the best course of action would be to make a similar pad, but larger, or maybe even a few to swap out and get to testing out how it feels to sit on them – it would be interesting to get different spikes/nails and see the way the shapes of them change the feeling of the vibrations. The whole sensation will most likely change dramatically when a person’s whole body weight is pressing into the spikes. Further to that I would like to incorporate some type of use controllers on the chair. Aesthetically, I like the idea of this being a row of potentiometers along the arms that change the speed and intensity and possibly patterns. Inputs are even more reason to move over to working with a Mega, gonna need those ports!

The Invisible Motivator

By Veda Adnani

The workspace can be very stressful for most, and often we need messages of security and reassurance to keep us going. These inspirational messages usually form part of our ambient environment in the form of postcards, or cut outs. But I believe that the experience of motivating oneself, is more intimate and private and it can be awkward to have strangers at your desk space analysing and staring at your personal messages, often asking questions that can make the user uncomfortable. The Invisible motivator aims to resolve this issue, with an ambient system that only displays messages to its user on the user’s demand at the push of a button, else camouflages with their environment. It blends into other artefacts that the user collects and displays in their personal desk space.

483aec30-c7fc-4315-8e9a-234f1e4b11bbFigure 1: Completed prototype

38921bf3-c69b-4f17-87c1-cdaf514ec2caFigure 2: Closeup of invisible message patch

4a8d027b-fca1-4acb-af1f-163e575ed097Figure3: In class worksheet

In class

We learnt how to work with multiple forms of thermocromic pigments in class, which was an insightful process. We learnt how to make dye, paint and screen print with the medium. This helped us with using the pigment in a versatile manner. I found that these pigments are extremely useful when dealing with temperature sensitive projects, especially wearables. They can also be used alongside other devices like heat pads, as a feedback indicator.

After class I, conducted research on different projects with thermocromic inks to better understand how the medium works and what it can do.

Testing

After class I proceeded to test some of the patches we had made with two different stimuli, the first was a hairdryer, and the second was our e-textile tester with 3 batteries of 3v each, which is 9v of total power. I found that the material reacts to the extreme heat of the hairdryer much more instanteously and effectively as compared to that of the e-textile controller.

39977dd3-c0f6-4f62-83d9-d28532081835be82c854-7b46-4312-9665-e79a709c8b71Figure 4 and 5: Testing patches at home with the e-textile tester

Supplies

For my prototype I used the following materials

– Thermocromic ink in blue

– Acrylic paints both white and blue

– A paintbrush

– A patch of cloth

– Resistive thread

– Basic sowing supplies

– Arduino Micro

– Push Button

– Alligator clips

– Diode

– Modfset

– E-textile tester with 3 batteries of 3V or battery pack

Fabrication

I began my fabrication process by mixing the blue thermorcromic ink with white acrylic paint, and making a mixture of blue and white acrylic paint in the same colour. Once both the mixtures were ready I painted the purely acrylic mixture onto a patch of cloth and let it dry. This part of the prototype is the non-reactive one.

Thereafter I took the mixture with the thermocromic ink and painted a motivational word onto the patch that I had painted previously, and tried my best to ensure that it camouflages into the base. I painted 2 coats of the paint to make sure that it is reactive enough.

Once this mixture was dry, I ran a running stitch of resistive thread across the word. I ensured that it was equally distributed and aesthetically pleasing.

094d9c1a-6b04-428e-a534-43dd7ebb6299Figure 6: Mixing and matching paints (both thermocromic and regular)

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ec6abac5-d6b8-46d1-bae1-b59134747b15   59edc86b-39d2-4bf9-b143-e6243efc735d

Figure 7, 8, 9: Painting the base patch, painting the thermocromic message, stitching the resistive thread onto the patch.

Circuit

I built a circuit with a push button, since I only wanted the message to activate on the user’s demand (or auto display it at fixed intervals of time in the next version of this prototype). For the circuit I took inspiration from a project on instructables.com by uzarate (link in citations)

Prior to building the circuit with the painted patch, I ran a test at home with a regular patch to see if it works.

f1a20593-21f7-47c3-9a65-6cc72d61e383Figure 10: Cirtuit

4d2aea68-5d26-42a0-b463-29ead0d2faccFigure 11: Testing the circuit at home with a regular patch

(Circuit reference by uzarate on instructables.com)

The only difference between this circuit and mine is that I used the e-textile tester as the second power source with 3 batteries of 3v each within it.

Code

For the coding process, I used a simple I/O code for Arduino. Screenshot below.

85f8e951-4721-4a64-853b-c6927e6d0deb

 

While the circuit did work, and the e-textile controller lit up, I feel like the power supple was insufficient, as the ink reacted perfectly to heat from hands and a hair dryer but took sufficiently longer and was slower with this circuit. I am to fix this in the next version of this prototype.

90352083-4375-4257-87b3-875fa82cbe49Figure 13: Cold patch

9047da0e-d986-4ae3-97ce-6946353b2ff5Figure 14: Activated patch

Vision

This patch can be placed inside a simple photo frame , even be developed further into a camouflaging patch on their desk wall to minimise notciability for non-users. wWith a push button hidden under the user’s desk at a convenient distance, I envision the user using this prototype as a stress buster during a hectic work day.

 

Citations

Instructables, Uzarate

https://www.instructables.com/id/Thermochromic-Secret-Message/

 

 

 

Ambient LED

  • Strategy:  

img_5407img_3574

Excessive use of eyes leads to a variety of eye problems, which not only affects our health, but also reduces our work efficiency. You need to take a few seconds blinking eyes or looking out of window in very 30 minutes using computer. I want to expand and contribute to a project I did this semester and make an ambient device for the body.

ComputerMate is a smart computer chair cushion that help you developing a healthy lifestyle. There is a push button (weight sensor) inside the cushion, so it can detect if user is sitting on the chair or not. All you need to do is to plug smart computer chair cushion in the power supply. A popup window will send you notifications and play relaxed music, eye, exercise video, or stretching exercise video every 30 minutes. If you close the window, computer send you another notification in (every) 5 minutes.

I’d like to add a new function to the seat cushion. The display light functions as a timer to remind users that they should take a break when using the computer for a long time without disturbing people. It use pre-attentive processing to display information. There is a circle of LED lights around the seat cushion. When the user sits on the seat cushion, the function is turned on:Every minute user sit on the cushion, one LED will light up, and so on. If someone is constantly sitting on a cushion for 30 minutes, all 30 LEDs around the seat cushion will be lit one by one. People can glance at the light when they are using the computer and sitting on the computer chair. Those LEDs are not only work as a timer telling you how long it will be before taking a break, but also work as reminder at a glance.

Conclusion:

  • Previous function:

A popup window will send you notifications and play relaxed music, eye, exercise video, or stretching exercise video every 30 minutes. (Arduino > p5)

  • New function (ambient device):

Every minute user sit on the cushion, one LED will light up, and so on. If someone is constantly sitting on a cushion for 30 minutes, all 30 leds around the seat cushion will be lit one by one. (Arduino)

Workshop #4 Worksheet

Use Pousman et al’s[1] design guidelines for ambient information systems to design an ambient device

1) Display information that is important but not critical.
One function this device has is telling you how long it will be before taking a break, which is an important but not critical information displaying by 30 LEDs.
2) Can move from the periphery to the focus of attention and back again.
3) Focus on the tangible; representations in the environment.
LED light display glanceable information. Human eyes is sensitive to light change. We can notice the change of color and brightness of light at a glance. Use light as representations in the environment is very common.
4) Provide subtle changes to reflect updates in information (should not be distracting)
This device provides constantly change to users to reflect constantly updates in real time. Every minute user sit on the cushion, one LED will light up, and so on. If someone is constantly sitting on a cushion for 30 minutes, all 30 leds around the seat cushion will be lit one by one.  
5) Aesthetically pleasing and environmentally appropriate.
LED lights enhance the user experience, many people often use LED lights to decorate the bedroom. The pattern and color of the light is aesthetically pleasing. The cushion is placed in computer chair in bedroom, so it is environmentally appropriate.

[1] Pousman, Z. and Stasko, J. 2006. A taxonomy of ambient information systems: four patterns of design. Proceedings of the working conference on Advanced visual interfaces. (2006), 67–74.

 

  • Documentation:

Material:

  • Adafruit Feather board
  • Addressable led stip

These LEDs have an IC built right into the LED. This allows a communication via a one-wire interface. This means that you can control lots of LEDs using just one digital pin of your Arduino.

  • Jumper wires
  • Usb charger
  • Usb cable

img_6248

(addressable led stip)

Step1: Circuit Diagram.

screen-shot-2019-02-13-at-9-54-47-pm

(circuit diagram)

There are four pins on the addressable led stip. One for GND(ground), one for power(5v), one for data, and one for timer. Since there are many different type of addressable led strip out there. I took a while to figure out how to connect those pins to Arduino board.

Addressable led strip has two ends, so you can plug in jumper wires in either direction. You can connect those two ends to the Arduino board with jumper wires in a positive or negative direction. If you choose the wrong direction, it won’t work. The strip has arrows in the direction that you’re flowing through.

img_8281-2

(close look of arrows on addressable led strip)

The red wire connect to 5v, the yellow on connect to ground. The white one connect to digital pin and the black one also connect to ground.

screen-shot-2019-02-13-at-9-56-24-pm

(close look of addressable led strip wires)

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(set up wiring)

Step2: code.

I was looking for the right library and example for addressable led stip. There are many of them online. See details in reference. I want to find on that can control the brightness and the color of each LED individually, which allows me to produce amazing and complex effects in a simple way.

  1. Installing the FastLED library!
  2. After installing the needed library, upload the following code to your Arduino board (this is an example sketch provided in the library examples folder). Go to File > Examples > FastLED > ColorPalette

Then i made few change of the example code and accomplish my goal. I changed the delay time to 1 minute, so for every one minute pass, one more led light up.

Test video:

For demonstration, I changed the delay time to 10 seconds, so for every one minute pass, one more led light up.

Step3: Fabrication.

img_4647img_1256

(make holders for LED strip)

img_9323

(stick pressure sensor on the back of cushion)

Test:

  • Insights:
  1. There are a lot of addressable led at creatron. Notice that what we can use is 5v addressable led strip. 9v and 12v are not for arduino.
  2. Voltage Feather board can provide is 3v. It is still working to this type of addressable led.
  3. Addressable led stip has two ends, so you can plug in jumper wires in either direction. You can connect those two ends to the Arduino board with jumper wires in a positive or negative direction. If you choose the wrong direction, it won’t work. The strip has arrows in the direction that you’re flowing through.
  4. There are four pins at each end of the strip. The red wire connect to 5v, the yellow on connect to ground. The white one connect to digital pin and the black one also connect to ground.
  • Information sources:

https://randomnerdtutorials.com/guide-for-ws2812b-addressable-rgb-led-strip-with-arduino/

  • Next Steps: How would you improve upon what you made?
  1. digital fabrication
  2. test the code with push button
  3. try different color and pattern

 

 

Panic Attack Sensor

 I’d like to design a biofeedback device that is a stress management tool for people suffering from panic attacks or anxiety disorders. It is a device designed for self-reflection that make a person aware of one’s own feeling.

Panic attacks are sudden periods of intense fear that may include palpitations, sweating, shaking, and shortness of breath. The symptoms are sudden, frightening, and difficult to manage. They typically reach their peak within ten minutes and resolve within thirty minutes. Deep slow breathing, coping statements and distractions help to shift focus from this overwhelming situation.

Strategy:

I will use a breath sensor that detects a panic attack through the symptom of shortness of breath. The device should interact by distracting the individual from a fearful situation by engaging the person in a multi-sensory experience through producing sounds and scents for a calming ambient.

The device will be a band that wraps around the diaphragm. Stretching the band will trigger a lavender scent to be released from an embedded essential oil cartridge, and will play a deep calming slow breathing sound track to AirPods speakers that are wirelessly controlled.

img_7962

Initially I was aiming to use the Eeonyx Stretch Fabric sensor. In class and with the DIY_analog_senor.ino Arduino code, I measured the variable resistance at rest and when stretched to determine the minimum and maximum sensor values. The minimum value at rest was 60, and the Maximum value when stretched was 140.

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screen-shot-eeonyx-test-code

Then, because of the limited supply of the Eeonyx Stretch Fabric, plans changed and I decided to use Rubber Stretch sensors instead. I went through measuring the variable resistance at rest and when stretched again to determine the minimum and maximum sensor values of that resistive material. Surprisingly, the resistance increases when the rubber is stretched, so when stretched the minimum sensor value was 480, and at rest the maximum value was 685.

img_7942

Serial Monitor images below show readings of the rubber sensor values at rest and when stretched.

screen-shot-rubber-sensor-at-rest

screen-shot-rubber-when-stretched

The Rubber stretch sensor is sewed to the interior side of a tank top. It is attached to an elastic band that is situated under the chest and wrapping around the breathing diaphragm. I intended to embed the sensors and wiring being invisible to make them feel more personal for self reflection.

img_7948

img_7947

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img_7957

img_7955

 

Testing the prototype:

screen-shot-2019-02-06-at-11-35-23-pm

Insights 

This prototype promises to interact by producing a qualitative effect that is a calming personal ambient for individuals to relax and be mindful of their own situation. When the breath sensor is activated the algorithm sends current to the Lavender oil cartridge to release a calming subtle scent, and also sends a current to a recorder to play a slow breathing sound track to co-perform with the individual as a way to guide for a deep relaxed breath. The device responds to a panic attack event and waits 5 minutes before repeating the loop. This delay allows the individual to have time to react and relax before repeating the loop of dispensing scent and producing sound.

screen-shot-2019-02-06-at-9-22-49-pm

breath-sensor-arduino-code

img_7961

Next Steps

I’m investigating in ways in giving authority to the individual with this breath sensor biofeedback device. That might be achieved by controlling the aromas and intensity of the released essential oils, and also by having control of playing, stopping or changing the sound track.

Information sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panic_attack

Corset Breathing Sensor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PraTattoo

Overview

img_2240

Tattoo practicing can be extremely frustrating because it’s difficult to find people who are willing to volunteer their skin for beginner tattoo artists to practice on. So, many artists start with fake skin, which is a tattoo practice sheet made of silicon. A very popular starting point, which might not be very good because it has no indication on whether the student is doing it right or wrong. I’ve been to many tattoo conventions and most tattoo artists I met are self-taught, which is usually a very long process because of a shortage of volunteers and lack of direction. I remember when I was starting to use fake skin sheets for the first time, I had no idea whether the needle was going too deep or too shallow, which can be problematic because the whole point of the practice is to build the correct muscle memory.

So, I want to use this experiment as an opportunity to explore how to extend the tattoo practice sheet to a more reliable tool for new tattoo students. The sensor I created allows the students to tattoo on the practice sheets while the tool is indicating levels of pressure: green for “okay”, yellow for “a little too hard”, and red for “too much pressure”.

 

Video

https://youtu.be/bqZh3BMCpn0

How it works

When the tattoo student is ready, they will hold the machine as they would normally and start tattooing. It is vital to know the correct angle to hold the tattoo machine at because tattoo ink is supposed to be pushed by the needle into the Dermis, which is the second layer of skin we have under the Epidermis (top layer of skin). If the ink is not pushed far enough in, it will not stick and eventually will be pushed out by the skin. However, if the ink is pushed too far deep in, past the Dermis, the ink will be spread out too much and ruin the quality of the piece. So, it is vital for the tattoo artist to train their hand muscles to memorize the movement and the angle, with continuous practice, accurate muscle memory is achievable.

So, after the tool is assembled, with all the layers in the right order, the green LED will be lit. As long as the machine is held in the right angle, and the pressure on the needle is not too high, the green light will indicate that the student is on the right track. However, once the yellow LED is lit, the student has a chance to fix the gesture back to the green zone. Red LED is an indication that the pressure is too high and most likely it would’ve caused some bleeding on human skin.

Documentation

First, I started with filling the measurements sheets, which is great because I was able to test the different values of the conductive textiles we received in our kits. This allowed me to see the variations between the values “at rest” and “activated” before I start building my sensor.

These are the values received on the multimeter
These are the values received on the multimeter
These are the values received on serial using Arduino
These are the values received on serial using Arduino

I tested the different textiles to see which would work best for my sensor, and I realized that, out of the textiles in the kit, the Velostat worked best for this tool.

 

Testing the conductivity & resistance on the Eeonyx Conductive Fabric at different distances
Testing the conductivity & resistance on the Eeonyx Conductive Fabric at different distances
Testing the conductivity & resistance on the Eeonyx Conductive Fabric at different distances
Testing the conductivity & resistance on the Eeonyx Conductive Fabric at different distances
Testing the conductivity & resistance on the Eeonyx Conductive Fabric at different distances
Testing the conductivity & resistance on the Eeonyx Conductive Fabric at different distances
Testing the conductivity & resistance on the Eeonyx Conductive Fabric at different distances
Testing the conductivity & resistance on the Eeonyx Conductive Fabric at different distances

Video of the test

Next, I started sketching different variations of what that tool might look like. As a tattoo student, I have some insights into what I believe how this tool should be used and how it should look like to effectively perform its intended function. On the other hand, this is a speculative approach, and I was open, throughout the process, to changes and modifications to the concept.

In the initial sketches, I was planning to use a regular foamboard for the back support, with conductive fabric and Velostat sheet between the back and the front layers. When I built this prototype, I quickly realized that without proper support, this device will not be functional as it’s supposed to, because the layers will constantly move which will cause unstable values.

A side view of the layers
A side view of the layers
A separate view of each layer
A separate view of each layer
The order of the layers
The order of the layers

For my second prototype, I decided to use wood as back support with four pins on each corner to hold each layer down in its place. The reason is that wood is not conductive, and since the wooden pins will be holding down every layer, a conductive pin can cause shortcircuiting and/or inaccurate results.  

My first test to use the silicon sheets
My first test to use the silicon sheets
When I added the wooden platform with the pins, I ran another test to make sure things are still working
When I added the wooden platform with the pins, I ran another test to make sure things are still working

Video

Once I had this prototype completed, it was a matter of tweaking and fine-tuning the parts in order to get the intended results. So, moving to the LEDs, which are essential to this tool’s function, was relatively an easy process. I used the generic 2-pin LEDs in 3 colors, green, yellow and red.

Final Test
Final Test
Using an Arduino Uno, this allowed me to use the controller for most wires, but eventually I had to use a small breadboard
Using an Arduino Uno, this allowed me to use the controller for most wires, but eventually I had to use a small breadboard
Once I added all the electronics, I ran another test. However, this time, the values I got on serial were different
Once I added all the electronics, I ran another test. However, this time, the values I got on serial were different

Although the tool I created is an early prototype with a lot of wires showing, I made sure that it is stable and portable. However, for my second prototype, I am planning to create a shell for all the parts, and soldering all the parts together in order to make sure it will last over long use.

The view inside the control box, you can see the resistor used for the sensor
The view inside the control box, you can see the resistor used for the sensor
A close up view of the LED wiring. I connected the LED resistors straight to the LEDs using a shrink wire
A close up view of the LED wiring. I connected the LED resistors straight to the LEDs using a shrink wire

The resistor I used for this sensor was a 26k resistor. This was the highest resistance I had and so I had to work with it. Using the 26k resistor dropped the values on the serial enough for me to be able to work with effectively. For example, with the 26k resistor, the “at rest” value was between 800 and 840. Although that’s a little high pressure,   tattooing does require some pressure and so I decided to make the “green” up to 889, and between 890 and 909 is for “yellow” and above 910 is for “red”.

After testing the sensor with a tattoo machine, some fine-tuning had to be done, but more or less the response through the LEDs was sufficient for me.  

Code

To build this sensor tool, I decided to work based off one of the example codes provided in the Arduino software. However, the original code only included 1 LED with different functionality than what I’m looking for, so, some changes had to be done to the code.

First, I added adjusted the code to remove the outputValue because I did not need the values to be mapped to 255, instead, I used the original 0-1023 range and split it into three levels, 0-840 for acceptable pressure and added an “if statement” to let the green LED value “HIGH” when the statement is true. Then, I added an “else if” statement for the yellow and red values 840-910, then 910 and above respectively. This way, the relevant LED lights when the relevant pressure value is reached.

Full code here

Started from an Arduino example code, and changed to fit this tool's functionality
Started from an Arduino example code, and changed to fit this tool’s functionality

Insights

Building this tool was a special experience. I remember using the tattoo practice sheets and thinking that they were not very effective and I remember wanting to do something about it. This experiment gave this chance and I am glad that I came out of it knowing more than going in.

Learning the different uses for the conductive sheets was a helpful exercise, this is my first real exploration into the conductive fabric world, but I can already see how much value it can add to our lives. However, I also learned that they are not easy to work with and troubleshooting can be also difficult since there are no parts to fix. For example, the values I received on the serial port did not match the values I got when I was filling out the sheet at the beginning. So, I had to revisit those values and see why they are different and how I can try to fix them. Eventually, I was able to map the values I received

I also learned how important resistors are when using conductive fabric with Arduino. When I was testing different resistors to see how the values change, I noticed that without the correct resistor, it’s almost impossible to receive accurate or stable values.

 

Next Steps

As I mentioned before, this is an early prototype, even though it functions well enough, in my opinion still looks rough. So, for my next iteration, I would like to finalize the look and the style of the device. Moreover, I want to consider more possibilities for the materials besides wood, perhaps consider a 3D printed base that can house all the electronics, while providing support to hold the silicon and the Velostat sheets.

Also, I want to purchase a full set of resistors and test out a few more options for more accurate values. If I can drop the “at rest” value using a higher resistor, it can allow me to fine-tune the sensor even more, which would eventually make the response more accurate to the pressure of the needle on the tattoo machine.

Smart Charms

Smart Charms / A smart stress toy

Project Idea – Wanted to create a wearable stress toy that would distract a user whenever they were feeling anxious. It works by pressing or scrunching up the sensor in one’s hands. This was inspired by self-care and art as a form of therapy / visual meditation.

Materials Testing Results

  1. Multimeter results

screenshot-2019-01-31-114705

 

2. Arduino results

Arduino tests

Body-Centric Sensor Design

Ideation

I wanted to create a stress toy for self-care that would distract the wearer whenever they were feeling anxious. When i began ideating, my original idea was to have a plush sensor that could be squeezed and squashed. I then began to think of portability and having the sensor around my wrist but also it not being cumbersome. This led me to thinking of something in the vein of a key-chain, that could be attached or detached onto various items of clothing. My ideal version of this sensor would be a charm bracelet where each charm could be manipulated to produce a different effect distracting the wearer almost like a visual meditation.

How it works.

When the sensor is crushed, pressed, or manipulated sensor values are passed to a recorded. These values are then mapped to a range between 0 and 10 to create a “stressLevel” variable which is later used in a Processing sketch.

Stress Level

Mapping original sensor readings to a stress level value between 0 and 10

In Processing, sensor values are used to create a digital painting of circles in a limited color range. The stressLevel value is used to determine what color the circle will be; values closer to 10 are in the blues & violets and values closer to zero are in the reds & pinks. I chose this color scheme to further indicate state of mind i.e when the sensor isn’t being manipulated the painting will be more blue and purple indicating calm and when more reds and oranges are present, this could indicate that the person is agitated or excited. The idea is that by concentrating on manipulating the sensor to create a digital painting, the person is distracted from their anxious feelings.

Variable Resistor Choice

For my variable resistor, I had initially intended to work with the EEonyx StatTex Conductive Fiber but during testing with the Arduino, i noticed that the range for sensor readings was very small and this would not work for me when interpreting how hard a person was clenching their sensor. I decided to use the Velostat / Linqstat as it provided me with a wide range of sensor values about 1023 to 0 when tested on Arduino with various resistors. This material was also chosen as it provided a good range of values when crushed, pinched, bend or pressed.

Fixed Resistor Choice

I chose to use a 10K resistor as from my materials testing, I found that this resistor gave me the greatest range of values whenever the fabric was subjected to various manipulations

Sensor Materials

To construct my sensor I used the following materials & tools.

  • Neoprene
  • Sewing thread & Needles
  • 2 Alligator clips
  • Felt material
  • Conductive fabric
  • Velostat / Linqstat
  • Scissors
  • Iron ( if no glue available)
  • Cardstock (to create your outline / pattern)

Steps

smartcharmsgrid

 

Processing / Visualization results.

Initially I wanted to draw the circles in real-time however, the sensor readings were coming in too fast and this created a very frenetic painting that kind of started giving me vertigo when i stared at it. It was distracting but it seemed to increase my anxiety the longer i stared at the circles moving on the screen.

To fix this, i decided to create an array that would hold each circle when it was created and then the draw loop would just pull objects from this array. This seemed to work and also ensured that circles stayed on the screen, thus creating more of a painting than an illusion as with my first explorations. I decided to stay on this route as i had a lot of fun trying to create a painting.

I noticed that as the sketch ran longer, the array got bigger and this slowed down the real-time nature of the paintings. The lag between me squeezing the sensor and the appropriate circle showing up got noticeably larger. I tried changing frameRates however this didn’t give me the effect I wanted. In the end, i decided to modify my for loop so that I would only grab the last 20 readings. In the future, i think it would be better to optimize this loop so that instead of saving all the readings into an array, i could only save a limited amount thus minimizing read times and increasing the real-time response between sensor and screen. I didn’t have enough time to implement this.

Digital Painting Results from testing

smartcharms

Next Steps

To improve on SmartCharms i would like to redesign the sensor itself, perhaps making it smaller and more discrete or keeping it at it’s current size but experimenting with different housing for the sensor itself so that i could get softer textures and more flexibility. I’d like to see what the values would be if i used a thinner cover, i.e. removed the neoprene…would the resistance be higher when the sensor is crumpled?

I would also like to improve on the visualizations. I was thinking of creating a coloring book type feel where different shapes would be generated on the screen to form a mandala and different parts of it would be colored depending on the sensor reading from squeezing the sensor.

Link to code: https://github.com/007myala/wardragon/tree/master/smartcharms

 

 

 

ComputerMate_Jingpo

ComputerMate

 

 

  • Strategy:

 

Excessive use of eyes leads to a variety of eye problems, which not only affects our health, but also reduces our work efficiency. You need to take a few seconds blinking eyes or looking out of window in very 30 minutes using computer. ComputerMate is a smart computer chair cushion that help you developing a healthy lifestyle. All you need to do is to plug smart computer chair cushion in the power supply. A popup window will send you notifications and play relaxed music, eye, exercise video, or stretching exercise video. If you just close the window, computer send you another notification in (every) 5 minutes.

screen-shot-2019-01-30-at-8-05-09-pm

Problem:

People nowadays are dependent on computers. However, the use of computers affects a human’s well-being. When we enjoy the infinite space given by computer and network, we pay the price of health unconsciously. Using computer more than three hours a day would have some impact our eyes, arms, shoulders, cervical spine, lumbar spine, skin, hair with varying degrees.

 

Worst Common Health Problems Caused by Computer Use:

 

  1. Muscle Problems
  2. Vision Problems
  3. Headache
  4. Stress
  5. Obesity
  6. Repetitive Stress Injury
  7. Radiation

 

Users:

People may know that computers are harmful to their health in so many ways, but when they are actually using computers (chatting with friends, working, playing games,or production), they will forget that they need half an hour to get up, walk, move their bodies and do some eye exercises.

 

Solution:

Smart computer chair cushion


Use the push button as the sensor. When the doctor recommends using the computer, look at the distance every 20 minutes; Stand up and stretch every 30 minutes. My idea is to replace Arduino micro board to have wireless wifi environment with feather. There are a lot of challenges for this project. See the chart below.

img_3268

(Design draft)

Challenge:

 

Challenge Solution
1 Wireless

Directly connected to power.

Feather board
2 Popup window

People don’t need to open url (a new window) to get the reminder.

?????
3 Audio

Example:

“stand up and stretch.”

“It time to do eye exercises.”

P5

Processing

 

4 Link to online resources

Guide people to watch eye exercises video, relaxed music, or fitness video

P5

Processing

5 Notification

If you just close the window, computer send you another notification in 5 minutes.

If condition code

 

  • Documentation:

Measure and record resistance of all materials with a multimeter.

We made our touch sensor in class:

It was very easy to make. We have tutorial link in class slide. It looks very simple, but my sensor wasn’t working at first, because two pads accidentally connect to each other.  The resistor works like a divider, that completely separate those two conductive thread on those two pads.

img_4564

(Touch sensor we made in class)

Our assignment is to find consistent data for each resistors by following the same procedure. Every material’s resistance was different. We ran 3 tests for each materials and fill out the form.

 

img_5886

(Material bag in class)

1: Connect material to the ohm meter.

2: Read the values on the ohm meter.

Pick out a random resistor and set the multimeter to the 20kΩ setting. Then hold the probes against the resistor legs with the same amount of pressure you when pressing a key on a keyboard.

The meter will read one of three things, 0.001, or the actual resistor value.

  • If the multimeter reads 1, it’s overloaded. We need to try a higher mode. There is no harm if this happen, it simply means the range knob needs to be adjusted.
  • If the multimeter reads 0.00 or nearly zero, then you need to lower the mode.

3: Count 30 seconds and read the values on the ohm meter again.

Measuring resistance of a device while it is physically installed in a circuit can be very tricky. The surrounding components on a circuit board can greatly affect the reading.

img_3797

(Measure and record resistance of all materials with a multimeter)

Measure and record sensor values of all materials with voltage divider circuit and Arduino.

img_5915

(Arduino)

screen-shot-2019-01-30-at-8-29-54-pm

(Arduino example code)

I used the press sensor I made in class to test the example Arduino code. The code is very simple. I opened the serial monitor and see the change of pressure(the change of resistor).

Create a Body-Centric Sensor Design, focusing on sensor construction and sensor calibration.

Materials:

  1. Mouse pad x 2
  2. Electric conductive fabric
  3. Econyx pressure sensing fabric
  4. Glue gun

img_9508img_8213

(New press sensor I made for this project)

img_9607

(Place the sensor inside the seat cushion)

Code: https://github.com/jli115/computermate

  • Insights:
  1. At first, I don’t know how to read multimeter. The meter will read one of three things, 0.001, or the actual resistor value. If the multimeter reads 1, it’s overloaded. We need to try a higher mode. There is no harm if this happen, it simply means the range knob needs to be adjusted.If the multimeter reads 0.00 or nearly zero, then you need to lower the mode.
  2. The sensor I made in class was not working because two pads accidentally connect to each other.  The resistor works like a divider, that completely separate those two conductive thread on those two pads.
  3.  I don’t know how to choose right resistor for Arduino board. The slide has very specific and clear explanation.

Besides that, everything went smoothly.

  • Information sources: none

I don’t have any other additional source for this project.

  • Next Steps: I haven’t finished challenge 2 and 5 listed above.

 

Run Adorably Sock

Workshop #1 Notes

“Run Adorably Sock”

By: Olivia Prior

Strategy + Goal

My prompt for this project was to create a run adorably sock-. I knew that initially I would not be able to fabricate an entire sock. Instead, to start, I wanted to create an interactive attachment that could be placed onto a sock. The attachment would be activated by the press of the user’s heel down onto the ground in order to track the wearer’s running movement. For the adverb side of the experiment, I wanted to create a cute cat face on the outside of the ankle that would light up when the button was pressed. Both together would create a bespoke attachment that lets the sock wearer run adorably.

Figure 1: Initial sketch of my prompt "Run Adorably Sock"
Figure 1: Initial sketch of my prompt “Run Adorably Sock”

From the experiments in class, I chose two different techniques. First, the knitted button and second felting and conductive fibres. The knitted button made the most sense to me as I essentially wanted an open circuit that closed when the heel pressed down. I chose the felting for the sturdiness of the material. If this was a device that was placed on the bottom of the foot, I needed the circuit to be sturdy and bound securely into the attachment material. I chose to execute the “adorably” part of the prompt by using un-felted fibres as the whiskers of the cat to connect the circuit.

Documentation

My original idea was to create a circuit that looped around the entire length of the foot, along the sole to the top of the foot and back past the heel. I initially traced my entire foot onto felt, but as I started to felt my fibres into the material I realized I had not fully thought through the connections. Looping around the entire foot would use a lot of excess material that was not required. Upon this realization, I took apart the felted fibres from the foot and drew some more thorough diagrams of my connections.

Figure 2: Full sole of the foot with the start of the circuit felted through to the tops of the toes.
Figure 2: Full sole of the foot with the start of the circuit felted through to the tops of the toes.

I diagramed my connections to wrap around the heel and ankle of the foot. I then crafted paper sensors to understand how I needed to attach all of my sensors together.

Figure 3: Bottom view of diagram, layer 1
Figure 3: Bottom view of the sock, layer 1 showing the felted circuit
Figure 3.2: Bottom view of the sock, layer 2 showing the first piece of knitted material.
Figure 4: Bottom view of the sock, layer 2 showing the first piece of knitted material.
Figure 5: Bottom view of the sock, layer 3 showing the first piece of knitted material with conductive thread .
Figure 5: Bottom view of the sock, layer 3 showing the first piece of knitted material with conductive thread.

 

Figure 6: Heel/Back view of the sock, showing felted circuit.
Figure 6: Heel/Back view of the sock, showing felted circuit.
Figure 7: Side 1 view of the sock, showing the "adorable" cat with the LED eyes and conductive fibre whiskers
Figure 7: Side 1 view of the sock, showing the “adorable” cat with the LED eyes and conductive fibre whiskers
Figure 8: Side 2 showing the battery attached to the sock.
Figure 8: Side 2 showing the battery attached to the sock.

The only part that I had less certainty about were both of the LED lights for the cat eyes. I chose to experiment and include them in this experimentation for my own personal research.

As I took apart the fibres on my first iteration of the full sole. I noticed that there were lots of stray fibres poking through. I was going to reuse that specific piece of felt but I was unsure if the stray fibres would contaminate my new circuit.

Figure 9: The back side of my initial iteration with lots of small fibres spread throughout the felt.
Figure 9: The back side of my initial iteration with lots of small fibres spread throughout the piece of felt.

I started to tear the fibres into pieces and then felt into the new heel attachment following my circuit diagram. The button would complete the gap in the circuit. The felted perpendicular lines were designed to give more surface area for the button to touch.

Figure: Felted the circuit to only the heel of the attachment.
Figure 10: Felted the circuit to only the heel of the attachment.

I took a break from felting and knitted my button sensors. I was excited that they were able to work just by pressing the pieces together. In my design, I did not need three knitted pieces, but rather two. I was going to use the felted circuit as the connecting part for the button. As I was knitting the conductive thread into the piece, I left gaps at the top and bottom of the knitted square because I wanted to be cautious of shorting my circuit. I was aware that the space on the heel I had allotted for the button was small and I did not want to have any risk of the button connecting to the other side of the heel circuit.

Figure 10: Two knitted pieces for the button; the first without conductive thread and the second with.
Figure 11: Two knitted pieces for the button; the first without conductive thread and the second with.

I tested the button using my testing tool to ensure that my loops were large enough for the knitted in the conductive thread on the first piece. To my surprise and contentment, it worked.

Video 1: Testing my knitted button using my testing tool 

I went back to felting and making the adorable cat with LED eyes. This process was challenging and frustrating. I had felt a piece of material in between the eyes to allow the first LED to end and the second LED to begin. Using the conductive fibres was challenging for this part; I had chosen them as the connections for the LEDs because I thought there would be a thick enough base for the wires of be able to stick into. I had also thought that I would be able to felt over top of the connecting part of the LEDs to secure the connection. In the end, I only was able to make the first LED light up briefly and could not confidently repeat the result.

Figure 11: The connections in the back of my cat were close together making for a messy circuit.
Figure 12: The connections in the back of my cat were close together making for a messy circuit.

I attached the cat face to the circuit and tested it using my testing tool. I was able to get satisfactory results of using the whiskers to “brush” along the felted circuit to pass the current through.

Video 2: Testing the fibres in my cat to see if they complete the circuit

I then sewed my knitted button onto my circuit. This I found challenging as I was not getting the bright consistent results I had with my testing tool. I placed my testing tool on either side of the button and was getting dim results. The electricity was passing through, but my connection was not strong enough. I believe this was due to my design of the large gap. In a future iteration, I would need to sew the knitted piece that contained the conductive thread to the circuit to enforce a stronger connection.

Video 3: Testing the knitted button sewn into the circuit.

The end result: my piece could be clipped to the base of the foot and to the ankle to act as a sock that helps someone run adorably.

Figure 13: Full circuit of the attachment
Figure 13: Full circuit of the attachment

Insights:

This assignment felt very similar to my first encounters with jumper wires and a breadboard. The first time I was following along in Creation and Computation my circuits were not colour coded or organized. As I was going through that assignment, I was thinking about how in the future I would be much more intentional with my stitches and keeping a clean working space. This is reflected in the way I aim to set up my circuits now; I am very intentional with ensuring I can see everything that is happening. I found the best example of frustration caused by straying from this technique when felting the fibres. Initially, I was felting away not really considering how the fibres on the other end would interact. As I started testing, I consistently went back and ensured that my working space was clean. This was a huge hassle and in the future I would use felt to block out certain parts of the felting area to ensure a contamination free zone.

I also re-learned the importance of sketching out my circuit and pursuing the project with intention. I think the connotations of the materials lends itself to a crafting mindset. It is hard to re-wire those instinctual urges such as; I will cut away the felt; or, I can use glue to repair that later. What helped the most was making my components out of paper first and then laying them down to understand my prototype. This allowed me to consider dimensions, connections, and what materials I would need to use.

Through my development, I found myself asking the question: “how would one actually wear this?” rather than “how would one construct this?” My first concern was about construction, but as I was developing the circuit I found myself placing the attachment on my foot and rethinking my design for wearable use. In my next project, I think this will be one of the questions in the forefront of my mind: how do I include the body aspect rather than just focus on the functionality?

Information sources:

I followed the tutorials that were offered in the class: the knitting tutorial and the felting tutorial for constructing my circuits. I looked at the website How to Get What You Want to view some LED light attachments for inspiration but I chose to experiment with connecting to straight into the felted fibres instead.

Next Steps:

  • Include buttonholes and a sock to attach the piece together.
  • Consider using conductive fabric or thread to construct the circuit rather than felting, as felting is messy in narrow spaces.
  • One could knit an entire sock with this circuit in it, rather than making an attachment.
  • Fully attach a battery to the circuit rather than a quick stitch for security.
  • Make a matching pair for the sock.

 

Happy Hat

During the ideation process in class, I got 8 suggestions from the pile and out of the eight suggestions, the one that stood out for me was “Happy Hat Skiing”. The reason why I liked this idea was that I enjoyed picturing a happy ski hat, especially when it combines knitting and sewing with technology to get some interesting results. This approach of combining past and future skills and techniques is a personally interesting field for exploration.

My initial sketch of what I envisioned the hat to look like. It shows a hat with LED that lights using a battery.
My initial sketch of what I envisioned the hat to look like. It shows a hat with LED that lights using a battery.

 

Documentation

In the beginning, my idea was to create a hat that predicts the wearer’s mood and reflects it through an LED in the “fluff” at the top of hat. However, I am personally not sold on the idea of technology with mood prediction because of the social impacts it would have. So, eventually, I decided to go with a knitted and sewed hat with LED light in the fluff ball and ON/OFF functions rather than mood prediction.

Knitting was very challenging at the beginning and my first 6 or so attempts failed. However, after repeating a few times, I started to understand knitting and it can be used. I considered the option of knitting the conductive thread through with the yarn, but I wasn’t sure where I wanted to place the thread yet and so I decided to sew the conductive thread in the texture once I’m done knitting. I started with two 20-knot batches of knitted textile, not perfect, but enough to create a rough prototype of the hat by sewing the two batches together with normal thread.

Started with a 20 knot black knitted yarn. I still face issues at the first and last knot of each row
Started with a 20 knot black knitted yarn. I still face issues at the first and last knot of each row
Started with a 20 knot black knitted yarn. I still face issues at the first and last knot of each row
Started with a 20 knot black knitted yarn. I still face issues at the first and last knot of each row

 

I also knitted a 20 knot red yarn for the top part of the hat.
I also knitted a 20 knot red yarn for the top part of the hat.

Then I sewed a conductive thread from the LEDs to the positive and negative lines of the tester, which is sewed to the edge of the hat. When the circuit is closed, it lights the LEDs, which are 2 generic yellow LEDs connected using conductive thread to the battery.

Testing the circuit before closing the loop of the hat
Testing the circuit before closing the loop of the hat
When the circuit is close, 2 LEDs light up, which looks pretty funny on a hat.
When the circuit is close, 2 LEDs light up, which looks pretty funny on a hat.

Insights

I still find challenging to work with textiles since it is a new exploration for me and is still hard for me to visualize, especially in the ideation stage. However, this experiment pushed me to explore my prototype through and learn more about knitting. I would also like to explore different types of techniques and material for knitting because I believe knitting can be a surprisingly useful solution depending on how it is used.

Since I did not have the right frame for the circular weaving, I was able to repurpose an old frame by drilling through it and inserting yarn.
Since I did not have the right frame for the circular weaving, I was able to repurpose an old frame by drilling through it and inserting yarn.
I experimented with circular weaving also. I inserted conductive thread thoughout the lines.
I experimented with circular weaving also. I inserted conductive thread thoughout the lines.

img_2127

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next Steps

For the next step, I would like to find a better way to close the circuit, perhaps using a button or a sensor to light the LED. Also, I would like to focus more on creating a better prototype of the LED fluff ball because it can be used on its own, added to any hat, to light up through a button or an app in the future. An interesting approach to that would be to explore using felting to create fluff ball that lights under a certain temperature or with rain.

If done nicely, the fluff ball can be a nice addition to any ski or winter hat.

Process Journal #1 – An E-Textile Safety Badge & Bracelet

E-Textile Concept:

Who: Women and vulnerable communities e.g. LGBTQ+, children

What: A discrete pin-able patch and a bracelet

When: Can be used in everyday situations – women’s march, pride celebrations, walking down a dark alley,

Where: Pinned onto clothing or worn around the wrist

How: Sends a distress signal, perhaps with GPS location, when the bracelet is pinched or the badge is pressed. Ideally, the signal would be sent to an application on a phone that would pass the message to a designated party e.g first responders or family and friends.

Technique chosen: In the beginning I decided to either knit or weave as I wanted to create a push button controller and a pinch controller. I settled on knitting as I felt that weaving might not work for the push button and may have been too stiff. However, now with hindsight, if I were to continue with the idea of a safety bracelet, I would use the weaving technique to create the pinch controller.

Badge & Bracelet design & design:

Below is how I envision the push button and pinch mechanism envisioned in a wearable version of the safety badge and safety bracelet.

img_20190123_215858_editPush Mechanism Design for Safety Badge

img_20190123_222204_edit

Pinch Mechanism Design for Safety Bracelet

Process: The Badge

E-Textile Components

Steps:

  1. Prepare your materials and cut felt according to the size of badge you want. i.e. This design is for a square badge.
  2. Cast-on 10 stitches onto the knitting needle. Begin with your non-conductive piece.
  3. Knit in your preferred knitting style.
  4. Once you have a square piece, cast-off the stitches to complete the square.bc-3
  5. You should now have a non-conductive knitted square.
  6. Begin the next square by joining your conductive thread with the yarn to form one thread.
  7. Leave a “tail” of at least an inch in length and then cast-on 7 stitches.
  8. Knit in your desired style for 7 rows or until you have a square then cast-off.bc-4
  9. Repeat steps 6-8 to create a second conductive square. Ensure that each square has a “tail”.
  10. Sandwich the non-conductive part between the conductive parts and use the e-textile testing tool to test that the push button mechanism works. Tip: Ensure that the stitches on the non-conductive part are loose.
  11. Sew one conductive square to one side of the felt piece.
  12. Sew the other conductive square onto the opposite side of the felt piece ensuring that the tails of the pieces are on opposite sides.bc-5
  13. Pick one side of the felt and sew the non-conductive piece over one of the conductive pieces.
  14. Fold over the felt and test the safety badge lights the LED on the e-textile tool.

bc-6

Process: The Bracelet

E-Textile Components

Steps:

  1. Cut two 1/2 inch wide strips of conductive fabric.
  2. Using an LED and your battery from the e-textile testing tool, designate a + and – side to the strips.
  3. Place the remaining LEDs onto the strips and test that they all light up
  4. String some conductive thread through a press stud and sew a running stitch into the positive side of the conductive strips. Make sure that the press stud fits over the positive side of the battery pack’s press stud. bc-7
  5. Begin sewing the “legs” of the LEDs onto the positive strip.
  6. Sew all 5 LEDs onto the strip and snip the conductive thread when you get to the end of the positive strip or after the last LED has been fastened to the strip.
  7. Sew down the LEDs on the negative strip and snip the conductive thread leaving a tail. bc-8
  8. To create the knitted strip for the pinch circuit begin knitting with a mix of yarn and conductive thread. Ensure that you leave about a 1 inch tail.
  9. Knit for about 7 rows and then continue knitting with only yarn. You can snip the conductive thread.
  10. Knit with only yarn for 10 rows then attach the conductive thread at the end of a row and continue knitting a new conductive part.
  11. Knit for 7 rows and then cast-off and snip the yarn leaving a tail of conductive thread. bc-9
  12.  Attach the tail with yarn and conductive thread mix to the conductive thread tail from the negative strip from step 7.
  13. Attach conductive tail end to another press stud that fits over the negative side of the battery pack.
  14. Complete the circuit by attaching the battery pack i.e attach the press studs.
  15. When you pinch the knitted part, the LEDs should light up. I realized that the blue and green LEDs would not light as the 3V battery did not have enough voltage for the 3.2V bulbs.
  16. I switched out the LEDs using red, yellow, and orange LEDs which required 2.2V and all of them lit up as seen in the last picture. bc-10

The technique of working with the LEDs and was inspired by this post.