Instructables
Picture of LED Scarf

Wearable technology is an emerging fashion that takes both a mind for electronics and an eye for fashion. Luckily, it's becoming more and more maker-friendly with cheap batteries, power-efficient LEDs, and readily available embedded computers.

This is an introduction on how put together these parts to create a glowing scarf.

Once you understand the basic principles, it's easy to make wearables as complex as you like by adding more strips, different cloth, or sensors to control your patterns.

Wearables are not just for raves anymore: they're a a practical solution to being seen if you're biking or walking at night, and a fashion statement to wear to parties and events. Plus, it's customizable: just reprogram the microcontroller, and it'll match any outfit or occasion.

 
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Step 1: Acquire Materials.

Picture of Acquire Materials.

HARDWARE.

- Microcontroller. I use a Teensy, because it's small and well-suited for LED strips, compared to Arduinos, Pi's, etc.
https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/

- LED strip. This Instructable uses the three-wired WS2811 series (2812 and 2812B work too). I highly recommend sourcing your LEDs from Ray Wu's eBay store, as it's consistently the best quality I've seen so far.
http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/5m-DC5V-WS...

- Wire: Three colors of wire to connect all the bits.

- USB cord: chop an old phone charging cable up, or buy one from the 99c store. All you need is power and ground, no data.

- USB phone charger: these lipstick batteries spit out 5V, perfect for all your LED projects. Alternatively, you can get a disposable battery case, which is cheaper, but in the long run this rechargeable system will save you money, and is way more convenient: just hot-swap and go.
http://www.ianker.com/product/79AN3K-PKA

- Resistors: 100 ohm, one for each LED strip.

- Heat shrink (or electrical tape, if you're desperate)

- Mini-zipties for wire management

- MicroUSB (for programming, NOT to cut!)

- Wire strippers

- Soldering kit

- Blade (to cut trace, wires)

- Multimeter (for debugging purposes)

- Hot glue gun

SOFTWARE.

- Arduino environment

- The OctoWS library (http://www.pjrc.com/teensy/td_libs_OctoWS2811.html). Alternatively, especially if you only want to drive a single strip, use the Adafruit library (https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit_NeoPixel).

- Teensy driver (http://www.pjrc.com/teensy/td_download.html).

- There is some default code that comes with each of the libraries, but if you're running the Octo library, you can borrow some of mine.
Basic Functions: https://github.com/agentcupcake/LEDs/blob/master/...
Star Pattern: https://github.com/agentcupcake/LEDs/blob/30eaf5ae...

FUZZYWARE.

- Material. I use white fur, as it acts as a very nice, textured diffuser, but other white cloth will work as well.

- Needle and thread (white preferable)

- Sewing machine (for the long stitches)

- Safety pins

robertenglish4 months ago

I have a different,maybe newer, Teensy than shown. How do I cut off power from the I/O?

Liana_B (author)  robertenglish4 months ago

You can still cut the trace... the 3.1 is not so different than the 3.0.

jolshefsky5 months ago

Excellent! I love blinkies behind fur ...

samalert5 months ago

Just a quick tip
Step 5 : your mac still have those stickers leftovers i too hate stickers i just cant bear those, once you peel them some residue is still left on them for it to completely off try this. Use acetone (first try under body) or a simple deo would do the work, use a soft cloth and pry with your nails with no time all will be done. Same can be achieved with petrol/diesel (all volatile liquids) in more difficult times.

kyluddy5 months ago
Brilliant!
eeeaaattt5 months ago
Amazing!! You can join the wearing technology competition of Intel~