Oh, man. What a whirlwind lately! It’s crazy how busy your life can feel when you devote it to one thing for a while. For me, it’s training for RAGBRAI: 500 miles to bike across Iowa at the end of July. But what in the world does that have to do with LED clothing? Well, I am still a geek and geekcrafter at heart, no matter how many miles I put on that bike. So naturally, I want to sew LEDs into our team jerseys.
It all started with this, a turn signal LED bike jacket from Instructables (and MAKE, pretty much the center of the geek universe):
So now, I’m sitting up nights trying to figure out if I can indeed pull off this LED trickery for myself and my bicycle team.
Let me back up. This isn’t just because I want a safer way to train on my bicycle after dark (and therefore when it’s not a zillion degrees), but because the team my friend formed for RAGBRAI is named “Stars at Night are Big and BRAIt”.
That’s right. Texas representin’ in Iowa. And what better way to show off those stars than with sparkling LEDs on our jerseys?
Here’s the jersey:
So, maybe some twinkly LED stars in there, eh? Are ya feelin me? This is the kind of stuff that keeps me up nights:
- How should I sew in a Lilypad or Sparkle arduino controller so it doesn’t chafe on a 70-mile day?
- Should I make it switch or motion activated?
- Should I program a blinky light like the LED bike jersey? Should I just make for the sparkles?
- Should I just sew the lights into a t-shirt instead? The amount of washing (and stretching, and water exposure) a jersey would have is way more than a t-shirt would. I think that would be better for the wiring and parts.
And then I saw a project someone completed with fiber optics built into a skirt. How effing cool?
So let’s recap, for my own sanity:
- LEDs can be always-on. That seems pretty simple: http://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/281/tutorials/281
- I could make LED beads (wow!): http://www.flickr.com/photos/gracekim/sets/72057594119533712/
- LEDs can be in the bike wheel (omg!): http://hacknmod.com/hack/dirt-simple-pov-led-display/ This is definitely not-simple, but might in the end be easier—and cooler—than sewing LEDs into clothing.
- Wiki page (seems like a good reference for tutorials and parts).
- Instructables list o’ projects.
- Comparison of Lilypad and Sparkle: http://www.aniomagic.com/sparkle/background.php
Oh man. If I can pull this off… epic.