I’ve been really excited over the last week about a tesselatable, arduino-like, prototype project that Peter Knight and I are working on. It’s come about from brainstorming an idea that I’ve been mulling for a bit around possibilities for developing electronic wearables. Peter and I had been wanting to produce something interesting to show at the upcoming Maker Faire, Newcastle 2010 and I pondered how we could join up some arduino-like PCB modules to make snap and play patchwork wearables such as jackets, bracelets, bags, earrings, belts, badges and more – it turned out that Peter had some fab complimentary ideas on how we could take this forward and ‘Sparkle’ started to come to life in our heads and notebooks.
Coincidentally, we happened to be at the Open Hardware event at NESTA last Friday and surrounded by fabulously talented friends/colleagues from the hardware hacking community and soon found helpful advice and enthusiasm from friends such as Aaron Nielsen of Oomlout, SCTV and OmerK.
We’re investigating the development of modules that are easily customisable ie you can paint them, program them and work with various components such as LEDs, sensors and buzzers, that they can join up in various ways, they arrive as objects of rather beautiful design, feel totally lovely to wear, plus are amazingly fun to play and experiment with.
This idea also particularly excites me, as for a year or so now I’ve been really keen to find ways of bringing the notion of electronics and programming tinkering an easier, cheap(ish) and more appealing experience for kids at school and also for mainstream hobbyists – ie taking some of the fear barrier out of playing ‘n’ enjoying technology and maybe making it a useful learning experience along the way.
For now we have a fab potential PCB layout that Peter has made in Inkscape, above and a ton of gorgeous ideas – we’ve got a bit of a way to go yet, but will keep you informed of developments as they grow!
* the Lilypad arduino and other objects in the image above ^^^ are there to indicate scale!