Introduction: Time Sensing Bracelet

About: My work combines conductive materials and craft techniques to develop new styles of building electronics that emphasize materiality and process. I create working prototypes to demonstrate the kinds of electron…
The Time Sensing Bracelet is a fabric potentiometer. You select your desired time of day by making contact in the corresponding position on your wrist - where your watch would normally be.
There is no point to it but fun.

Update: Using some wire wrapped around the central popper to make contact with the resistive ring (circular potentiometer). Unfortunately (though cool too) the Eexonyx fabric is pressure sensitive, thus its resistance varies also on the pressure applied, not only on the position of contact.
Plus, the contact between the wire and Eeonyx is not stable enough. But this is a design issue that can be solved:-)

Video of update that eliminates the conductive finger-cap

Video of Time Sensing Bracelet in action

Video of first prototype

Step 1: Materials and Tools

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  • Fusible interfacing from local fabric store or
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  • Fabric scissors
  • Sewing needle
  • Iron
  • Soldering station (iron, helping hands, solder)
  • Knife for cutting perfboard
  • File for filing edges of perfboard
  • Wire cutters and strippers
  • Pliers


Step 2: Trace and Cut Stencils

Print out the stencil (see illustration) and trace it to a piece of neoprene. Trace the circle onto a piece of stretch conductive fabric that has fusible interfacing adhered to one side. Trace the disconnected ring and the small rectangle to a piece of Eeonyx fabric that has fusible interfacing adhered to one side.
Cut out all the pieces.

Step 3: Fusing

Lay the circle, ring and rectangle into place and fuse with an iron.
!Careful: the Eeonyx fabric will stick to your iron, be sure to put a piece of wax paper in between.

Step 4: Soldering

Cut a piece of perfboard 18 x 5 holes big. With the conductive strips running the shorter length. File the edges, but you do not have to round the corners, it is only for decoration.
Bend the legs of three male headers if you don't have any ready bent ones. Solder them to one of the corners of the perfboard.

Cut a piece of ribbon cable with five wires. About 1m long. Strip the ends of the 1, 3, 5th wire and solder to a row of three female headers. These will plug in to the three male headers on the bracelet.
Solder the other ends to the 1, 2 and 6th headers in a strip of six male headers, this will plug in to the 5V, GND and first analog input of your Arduino board.

Step 5: Sewing

Before sewing the conductive connections we need to sew the perfboard into place with some non-conductive stitches. We may as well sew the strip of Velcro to the other side of the neoprene while doing this. If you dont have sticky Velcro for the other side you will have to sew this too. Otherwise just peel and adhere.

  • The circle will be your +5V
  • The Ring will be your variable resistance
  • The rectangle will be your pull-up resistor

To understand the reason for having pull-up resistors, follow this link >>

The three conductive stitches come very close together and we want to make sure that they do not touch each other inside the neoprene, where we cannot see them. So you have to remember where you have stitched.

Sew from the circle of conductive fabric to the furthest left perfboard hole connected to a male header, bypassing the pull-up resistor.

Sew from the end of the pull-up resistor closest to the perfboard to the middle hole connected to one of the three male headers.

Sew from one of the ends of the ring to the other end of the pull-up resistor to the last hole of the three on the perfboard.

I attached a metal popper to the center of my conductive circle, because I wanted to be able to connected a piece of rotate-able metal to it, that I can turn and it will stay in one place making a constant connection there between the conductive circle and resistive ring.

One last thing we have to cut and sew is a little conductive finger-cap from stretch conductive fabric (no fusible interfacing). Trace your fingertip and cut it out twice, then sew together with conductive or non-conductive thread. Turn inside-out. Finished.

Step 6: Plug and Play

For Arduino microcontroller code and Processing visualization code please look here >>

Plug the headers into the right places and wear the bracelet. If all goes well you should be reading the inputs from the bracelet.

Now it is up to you to decide what time it is by placing your conductive fingertip wherever you want what time it to be.

Press the space bar to enter the visualization mode and press g to return to the graph mode. You can set the thresholds in the processing code.

Let me know if there are any complications. And enjoy!