E-textiles: LED Bracelets

bracelet_star-320_smallFor these LED bracelets we used the following: felt fabric in different colors (from amazon.fr), LED lights (from amazon.fr), conductive thread (from Kitronik), 3V Coin cell battery holder with the latch (from Kitronik), 1 x CR2032 Coin Cell Battery and velcro strap and/or snap buttons.

To start with, cut a rectangular shape from felt fabric. Make sure that it is long enough for the wrist of the bracelet holder. Then cut another slightly slimmer piece of the same length for color effect. Design your circuit: how many and which color of LEDs you’d like to have. Sew your circuit.

The basic E-Textile LED circuit is very simple. It is created by placing the LEDs in parallel with the battery holder. You need to attach the + sides from the battery holder with the + side (longer leg) of the LED and the – sides from the battery holder with the shorter leg of the LED. We’ve used a battery holder with the latch in these projects for easier switching on/off.

After your circuit is functional, cut some shapes from a colorful felt of your choice. Cut a small hole in the middle of them and slide them through the LEDs. If they slide out, attach them with few stitches.

Lastly, to fasten the bracelet, attach a piece of velcro strap or snap buttons for each end of the bracelet.

See this excellent Blog post on How to Make Basic E-Textile LED Circuit from Kitronik for additional information on circuits and LEDs.

E-textiles: Custom Design Cushions with LED Lights

etextiles_pillowcase-320_smallA group of young fashion engineers gathers on Saturday afternoons to design and create e-textiles; bracelets, soft toys or other accessories using conductive materials and LED lights. The design process starts with thinking about the functionality of the creation; Which materials will be needed and how to assemble everything together.

Items needed vary depending on a project. For these custom design cushions we used the following: felt fabric in different colors (from amazon.fr),  sewable LED lights (from Kitronik), conductive thread (from Kitronik), 3V Coin cell battery holder with the latch (from Kitronik or Lilypad), 1 x CR2032 Coin Cell Battery and filling (organic wool from amazon.fr).

We first designed the cushion’s artwork, then cut the patterns from a sheet of felt and sewed them on another sheet of felt (in this case size of a sheet was 30x30cm). Secondly, we decided where the LED lights should go and designed the circuit. It’s good to test if all the components function by connecting them with the crocodile clips. Thirdly, we sewed the components on the cushion with the conductive thread. Make sure to do it right – check the Sparkfun Tutorial on Conductive Thread and Conductive Thread – 10 Tips Youtube video by Adafruit Industries. Lastly, we stitched together the patterned felt sheet and a blank one leaving a small opening for the filling on one side and closed the opening when the cushion was nice and puffy.


To the Winter Hoods with the Migrating Birds

kivetSummer faded into autumn as August came to an end. We, summer residents in Finland, returned to our winter hoods with the migrating birds. Darkening nights, chilly northern wind and coloring leaves of birch trees were the first signs of nature hinting it’s time to go. I’m sad to leave the family behind but thrilled of the new beginnings in September; a new academic year starting for the children and exciting professional challenges for us parents.

paris-640_mediumIn France, it’s the time of the rentrée; the schools begin the first week of September, and Parisian streets fill with cars and people. It’s inspiring to exchange summer experiences with the friends who have returned from their corners of the world; to discover what they have seen, heard, read and learned.

A friend who spent her summer in the Silicon Valley told me about “fashioneering” – a discipline where fashion meets engineering. Maybe wearable computers and electronics built into clothing could inspire girls to code. Imagine jewelry that you could program to fit your outfit or a handbag with touch sensors and a siren to keep intruders away.

It’s time to share our dazzling adventures with the friends because those great summer ventures might encourage us all to try something new this fall.