Nicole A. Wolfersberger
and I, with support from Prof. Kylie Peppler
at Indiana University, made a LilyPad Arduino-controlled EL-wire dress. With a few extra components we were able to control the blink frequency of the EL wire. This introduces the new possibility of controlling the EL wire via sensor (button, touch, temp, light, etc.). Now the EL wire doesn't simply have to be either on or off--it's ready to be programmed!
The LilyPad Electronic Platform is an electronic platform designed to be easily sewn into fabric using conductive thread, which provides designers freedom from the traditional construction method of soldering.
EL wire (electroluminescent wire) is a thin wire the glows when an AC voltage is applied. The wire is often wrapped in a colored transparent tube and is quite pliable. Many people often outline clothing (hats, pants, jackets, etc.) with EL wire, giving the garment an interesting colored glow. We, however, want to not only outline a garment but also control when the EL wire is lit.
Controlling the EL wire is not difficult but it does require some electronic pieces that everyday crafters may not be familiar with.