This weekend I took part in the Midem Music Hack Day and I made this:
UPDATE: I won the hack! Here’s a video of my pitch presentation (starts at 9:25).
It involved flying to Cannes and enjoying this view:
Working on a hardware hack involving stitching was advantageous as it meant I could just sit outside and do a bit of hand sewing.
I was inspired by the start of the music festival season in the UK and made a bag for wandering between stages. The bag is embedded with LEDs that are controlled to relay information to the wearer without needing to look at their phone.
The bag starts with an animation to indicate it’s waiting to be connected to a Bluetooth LE device. Once a connection is made by selecting the bag from the phone’s Bluetooth device list, a general light animation starts.
The phone can send messages to the bag and instruct it to light up for particular notifications. I had it light up as all red and all green as a demo. This could be a notification that you’ve received a text message or that a show you indicated you want to attend is about to start. It alerts you to look at your phone for more information.
All the physical interactions with the bag use the tassels at the end of the drawstrings. Touch the pink tassel to the beadwork along the bottom of the to change the animation or to clear a notification and return to the animation.
The blue tassel will send a message back to the phone. A potential use case would be if you ended up near a stage at a music festival and like what you heard, but didn’t know the artist, you could touch the blue tassel to the beadwork to tell a festival app on the phone to record the current GPS and time data to determine what artist in the schedule you heard. You could later refer back to that “bookmark” in the app.
I bought the bag from the Stratford Westfield from a generic mall store. It was on sale. I was looking for a patterned bag that was on trend fashion-wise and had parts that could be easily adapted into a soft-circuit interface. The woven fabric proved to be an excellent choice as it was very easy to work with.
I was lucky that the bag was constructed well and had a layer of interfacing in between the outer fabric and lining fabric. It was also complete luck that some of the beads were conductive (I hadn’t taken a multimeter with me to the store).
The whole thing ran on an Arduino Micro on a breadboard. It was connected to a strand of 50 WS2801 RGB LEDs and talked with a phone via the Adafruit Bluefruit nRF8001 Breakout Board. The phone ran Nordic’s demo app for working with their chips. It was a great tool. I just sent messages to the Arduino via the app’s UART interface.
Code is available on my github.