Light Signals

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LEDs are versatile and can be used for a variety of purposes. For some, LEDs help illuminate their surroundings and for others, this could be used as a visual indicator to alert others of their presence. These three prototypes all explore the latter use of the LEDs and explores how different types of gestures can be used to indicate visual feedback through the LEDs.

1. LED Biker Jacket

biker_jacket
Description

For this prototype, I created an LED Biker jacket. The idea behind this was for the LEDs to act as an indicator to alert all vehicles and road users to see bike riders at night. Since the jacket zip was conductive, I cut up two pieces of aluminum foil and pinned them each to two sides of the jacket. The two pieces of aluminum foil will come into contact with each other when the jacket is zipped up and touching both sides of the aluminum. When this happens, the LEDs light up indicating the presence of the biker. This prototype made use of clothing gestures.

Parts and Materials

LED bulbs

Alligator clips

Arduino microcontroller

Aluminum foil

Power bank

Jumper wires

Biker jacket

Full-sized breadboard

Detailed Photos
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Circuit
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Circuit on Jacket
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Jacket on hanger
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All Zipped Up
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Lights On

 

Discussion

Currently, the prototype makes use of LED bulbs which are simply taped to the jacket. For future iterations, I would make use of LED strips to have them more integrated as part of the jacket. Also, I believe a conductive thread would have worked better to help with the overall presentation of the prototype. Moving forward, I might need to get the Lilypad microcontroller to help with a more seamless design.

Code

Github

Circuit diagram

biker_jacket_bb

2. Biker Signal Gloves

led_gloves
Description

These LED light signal gloves are designed for cyclists to wear for their safety on the road. These arrow LED strips are controlled when the person wearing the gloves presses his/her index finger and thumb against each other. This activates the LEDs depending on which of the gloves is used. The left glove indicates a left turn signal, while the right glove indicates a right turn signal. This is used to show other commuters on the road when you want to turn left or right. To make this connection happen, I sewed on aluminum foil to the thumb and index finger portion of the glove and then made the connection from the breadboard through the use of alligator clips. This prototype makes use of body gestures, with the movement of the thumb and index finger to create the connection.

Parts and Materials

LED strips

Alligator clips

Arduino microcontroller

Aluminum foil

Power bank

Jumper wires

Gloves

Full-sized breadboard

 Detailed Photos
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Circuit
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Stitching up LED Strips
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Connecting circuit to LED strips
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LEDs off
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LEDs on; Left signal + Right signal
Discussion

I believe this was a successful prototype in terms of execution and how I intended it to work. However, the gloves are still too bulky and uncomfortable to wear due to it having to be connected to a power bank and breadboard in order to work. For future iterations, I think the use of a coin battery, as well as a Lilypad microcontroller, will make this prototype easily wearable and more functional as a final prototype. In addition, having the LEDs blink for some time after the signal will also be helpful and will make it easier for the cyclist who is having to ride and make the signal at the same time.

Code

Github

Circuit diagram

led_gloves

3. LED Footmat

led_foot
Description

The LED Footmat is a doormat that uses aluminum foil as a conductive material to light up an LED as a signal when someone arrives home. This prototype is an environment gesture that is activated when a person steps on the pressure point of the doormat. This pressure point is created by two pieces of aluminum foil that are connected to two sides of a piece of handkerchief and folded over each other. The two pieces of foil are separated by a piece of foam. This connection is a simple setup and can be used simply as a visual indicator for someone who arrives home late.

Parts and Materials

LED bulbs

Alligator clips

Arduino microcontroller

Aluminum foil

Power bank

Jumper wires

Handkerchief

Doormat

Foam

Full-sized breadboard

Detailed Photos
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Setting up tools
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Laying down conductive material; aluminum foil
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Connecting circuit to LEDs and aluminium foil
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Final Prototype: Outside
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Final Prototype: Inside
Discussion

This prototype was fairly simple to make and did not require a lot of materials or complex connections. However, I feel that there are some things I could have done better. I could have used conductive fabric and LED strips to sew into the doormat and this would have made for a more aesthetically pleasing experience and helped to hide some of the loose wires hanging. A future iteration to consider will be how to integrate sound into the experience. When the user steps on the mat, they will receive light and sound feedback as well.

Code

Github

Circuit Diagram

Same as LED Biker Jacket

Image Attribution

<div>Icons made by <a href=”https://www.freepik.com” title=”Freepik”>Freepik</a> from <a href=”https://www.flaticon.com/” title=”Flaticon”>www.flaticon.com</a></div>

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