Picture of LED Matrix Bike Safety Backpack

Biking around cars can be a frightening thing, and staying visible at night is crucial for your safety. This tutorial will teach you how to make a custom LED Matrix Backpack that is much larger and brighter than traditional rear bike lights.

Parts You'll Need:

  • Individually-addressable RGB LEDs
  • Arduino Pro Mini (or any Arduino, this one is just conveniently small.)
    • Note that if you use the Pro Mini, you will need an FTDI cable to program it.
  • 3-Conductor Conductive Ribbon (wire or conductive thread will work too but this stuff is nice)
  • Thin Wire
  • Basic soldering equipment (soldering iron, solder, etc.)
  • Flux Pen (optional)
  • Needle and thread
  • Some nice cloth to go over the LEDs (optional)
  • A backpack (or jacket! or whatever you want to attach this to.)

To see videos of the finished project, click here!

Creative Commons License
Wearable LED Matrix by Michelle Leonhart is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Step 1: Learn the Basics of Programming an LED Matrix

Picture of Learn the Basics of Programming an LED Matrix

First things first, if you've never programmed an LED Matrix before, please check out my tutorial on How to Make an Individually Addressable LED Matrix. This will give you the foundation necessary to start this project.

Ponyart9 months ago

this is amazing! this is very useful for me because i bike to school!

solderface (author)  Ponyart9 months ago
Thanks! Glad you like it. :)
bergerab1 year ago

Nice! This is great for students who bike to school (like me!)

solderface (author)  bergerab1 year ago
Thanks! I bike to work each day, and often come home after dark in the winter. Every bit of extra light helps.
mpinner made it!1 year ago

Now EVERYONE can sew these LEDs super easy. Great instructable, @at0mbxmb !

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Qtechknow1 year ago

Very cool, Michelle!!!!

solderface (author)  Qtechknow1 year ago

Thanks, Q!!