The Language of Rain - an Arduino-based Raincoat With Sound and LED




We will make a magic raincoat which could translate the language of the rain by using a LED stripe and a sound board.

People have a mixture of emotional responses to the rain. Some people enjoy it, while others do not. However, if you consider rain as a friend who is just telling a story to you, then you will love the feeling of touching it. I think the rain has its own emotion and this jacket uses music and light to translate the rain's emotion into a physical experience for people. With the changing color of the LED sewed onto the jacket and the tempo of the beats, you can immerse yourself in the rainy scene.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: You Will Need…


  • 2 Breadboards
  • Adafruit Audio FX Mini Sound Board - WAV/OGG Trigger - 2MB Flash
  • (
  • Adafruit Mono 2.5W Class D Audio Amplifier - PAM8302
  • (
  • NeoPixel LED Strip
  • 12V 5A switching power supply
  • (
  • or 8 x AA battery holder with 5.5mm/2.1mm Plug and On/Off Switch
  • (
  • Arduino Uno
  • (
  • MicroUSB cable
  • Wire
  • Soldering Iron
  • 4 x 10K resistors


  • Solder
  • Wire Strippers
  • 3d printer
  • Hammer and nail
  • Scissors & Tape

Step 2: Soundboard Test

Before you wire up your soundboard, you need to know about the pins on it.


  • TX is the serial out from the board.
  • RX is the serial into from the board.
  • UG is the UART/ GPIO selector pin. Pulled high for default GPIO trigger mode. Tie to ground and reset the board for UART mode.

Trigger Pins

There are 11 inputs that can be used to trigger audio playing. In this project, we only use 4 of them. Each pin has a pull-up resister.

To test it, you also need a 3xAAA battery pack or a LiPoly battery. You could also use a Adafruit Audio FX Sound Board + 2x2W Amp - WAV/OGG Trigger (which is easier to wire up).

First, plug the sound board into your computer. It will show as a USB key in your computer automatically.

Then copy the files into the new disk drive. Remember, all the files should be named “Txx”. (“xx” is the pin number that each of your files correspond to. For example, if you want to use pin #0, the file could be called T00.WAV ) Eject the disk to make sure the data was completely written.

Now, wire up the sound board as below.

You can download the code from Adafruit _ Sound Library

to control the sound board.

Step 3: Wiring Your LED Stripe and Connecting to Arduino

At the end of the stripe, there are 4 metal points.

  • 12V - Arduino Vin (this powers the Arduino through its onboard 5v regulator)
  • GND - Arduino GND
  • Din - Arduino pin controlling data
  • Cin - Arduino pin controlling clock

To test it, you can connect the yellow wire (serial data) to Arduino pin 2 and the green wire (serial clock) to pin 3. The software can be configured to use other pins, but we recommend using this arrangement when starting out, so that everything is tested in a known configuration. The blue wire (ground) should be connected to any of the Arduino GND pins.

Then go to to download the code to test your LEDs.

Step 4: Using Switches to Control Both LED Stripe and Your Sound Board

You can follow the most basic button circuit to connect your switches.

Finally, your 2 boards will be connected like this.

Step 5: Making Your Rain- Gather Shoulder Accessories

To control the amount of the raindrops and make sure they will exactly close the circuit, I 3d printed 4 shoulder accessories to gather water. I put the conductive tape on the edge of the bottom and soldered them with wires. Then I changed the switches to respond to the water.

Step 6: Attaching All Your Accessories and Arduino Boards to Your Raincoat.

We want to wrap the Arduino boards as small as possible, and make sure to check for any wires that may have come loose.

Next, cut a hole on each shoulder of the raincoat. Then glue the 4 “switches” to the shoulders.

You’d better use a battery to support your sound board and switch.

Now, wearing your raincoat, Let’s embrace the rain!

Step 7:

Be the First to Share


    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Multi-Discipline Contest

      Multi-Discipline Contest
    • Robotics Contest

      Robotics Contest


    Awesome wearable tech system. I bet this will really grab the attention of people on the street.