Eight "Wearable Challenge" Competitors Announced

Leslie Birch | Ryan Cain | Chris Carter | Katie Dumont | Catherine Jones | Linda Kaspers | Alex May | Bill Shaw

Leslie Birch
United States
Leslie took her first class on "LED Throwies" at The Hacktory in Philadelphia.  Now she creates art with microcontrollers, like a skirt that shows the path of the International Space Station, or a touchable musical spider's web.  For her, it’s about creating interactive art that encourages people to share experiences.  She’s a member of The Hacktory, Hive76, SheTechPhilly, Systers and AdaCamp.  When she’s not surrounded by LED's, you'll find her working on her blogs, "Geisha Teku" and "The Outdoor Vegan". Proposal:  No one likes rainy days—that's why the FLORAbrella will brighten my day with a simulated rain shower light pattern that converts to a rainbow inspired light show. I'll be using a clear domed umbrella to show off the Neopixels and either the GPS or color sensors to add more fun. The GPS can have my umbrella do its rainbow light show when I'm near home, while the color sensor would allow me to match outfits.

Ryan Cain
United States
Ryan is an elementary science teacher in Brooklyn, NY, who coaches an afterschool robotics team. He was very involved with tinkering with remote control cars in his younger years. Two summers ago, he attended a teacher research fellowship at the Polytechnic U of NYU. There he was introduced to the world of micro controllers. You can read more about it on his blog here: http://rysci.wordpress.com/2011/07/ Proposal:  My wife and I have a list of cool places in NY we want to hit before we leave. An embedded Flora baseball cap with a GPS, compass, and LEDS will guide us to the locations and track our progress. The more goals we meet—the more elaborate the animation of colors on the neo pixels. On the underside of the brim, pixels would provide the user with notifications and directions. You can visit my dormant blog at rysci.wordpress.com or my active twitter feed at @mrcainscience

Chris Carter
United States

Chris, Ellison, and baby Rowan just moved to Minneapolis from Austin, TX.  A new city, new baby, and lots of new creative endeavors.  What could be better?  Chris is super excited to start rollerblading on the greenway and Ellison can not wait to slip on some mittens for her first bike ride in the snow.


I first saw glow fur like this at ElectricStyles.com.
Furry, Lightup results:

Proposal:  A whole family of light-up furry creatures with interactive costumes controlled by the FLORA microcontroller.


Color Sensor: The baby's color triggers LEDs to form a heart on Ellison's costume to light up.
Woven Conductive Fabric: Ellison can press the tips of her gloves together completing a circuit. This causes her suit to throb and trigger a light burst from her hands.
Light Sensor: Chris' light sensor picks up Ellison's throbing light and mimics it. His hands then generate a similar light burst.
Accelerometer: The baby's lights are divided into front, back, top and bottom so when he is droppped, the light floats to the top and when he is pulled up, the light drops to the bottom as if the light had some kind of physical weight property.
Extra: Sound Sensor: The intensity of the baby's voice controls the light intensity of his outfit.


Katie Dumont
United Kingdom

Katie graduated from the University of Bath 2 years ago with a BEng in Computers, Electronics & Communications, since then she’s been working as a Electronics engineer in Bristol UK.


Evenings and weekends, she enjoys working on projects which solve problems she comes across in her day-to-day life. She also enjoys a variety of hobbies including paper-craft, sewing, playing the Clarinet and skating; mainly on ice, but happy in-line skating as well.

Proposal:  If I had this kit I would integrate it on my skating jackets sleeve (I might even sew on a new jacket) with 8 'compass point' LEDs surrounding a central RGB LED. This central coloured LED would change colour based on how far away from home I got, giving an easy to see nondistracting representation of how far I'd gone and when it was time to head home.  The compass points would illuminate the current direction that home is, giving me a quick and easy to follow guide to which roads to take home (i.e. take the next road in the direction of the currently illuminated LED) and would ensure that I didn't end up skating in the wrong direction!

Catherine Jones
United Kingdom

Catherine has always loved taking things apart to find out how they work. First of all biros, then radios, then computers, bikes and cars. Occasionally, she puts them back together and they still work.


These days you’ll mainly find her working on ways to use digital technology to bring museum objects and their stories to life.  She works at the science museum and spend a lot of time thinking about interactivity and participation in a museum environment.

Proposal:  Wouldn’t it be interesting if visitors to a museum could display physically whether the agreed or disagreed with a question.


The device that I am proposing is a piece of wearable technology,  that can display a response to a question or a poll. Or a recommendation of a exhibit or gallery.  It will display the response in a abstract but recognisable way. Maybe a colour or a pattern that is closely associated with the exhibit or gallery.  This would help people to select what they should visit within the museum.  It will bring people together by starting conversations and debates between people who they can see have similar or opposing views to their own.


Linda Kaspers
The Netherlands

Linda is a freelancer in music education. She teaches kids by symphonic orchestras, but also create projects for orchestras or ensembles. She absolutely loves her job and spends her free time with her boyfriend and their 5-year old son and/or with friends.


Hello!  Here's the idea that I've come up with:


Proposal:  I'd like to make a toy for small children.  The toy will be made out of fabric and shaped like a camera. The game will work as following:


The camera is held in front of a colorfull object, for example a green apple. When the 'shutter' is pushed, the two bright LEDs are used as a flashlight to make sure the color sensor can identify the right color. That exact color is then transfered to the NeoPixel in the viewfinder on the back of the camera. There are three more Pixels on the back. One of these will have the same color as the viewfinderLED (and the apple), the other two will have different colors. By touching the conductive fabric underneath the right color, you'll hear a nice sound to indicate you choose the right color. If you happen to choose the wrong one, you'll hear a buzzer indicating you should try again.  I'm hoping it'll keep my neighbor's kids busy while they're in my house!


Alex May
United States
Alex is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, with a bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering and a master’s in Robotics. He currently works in Oakland, California where they polish large-scale stainless steel sculptures with robots. He also teaches part-time at TechShop (San Francisco) as an instructor for six Arduino-related classes.  This will be the first time he has written anything for element14, but he has definitely grown to appreciate the enormous online community of Arduino developers, makers, and lovers.

Proposal:  Wake-On-Shake Navigation Glove


A fitted glove with an array of 8 Adafruit Neopixels (on the palm) used to represent a compass that does not point north, but at a settable GPS coordinate. An accelerometer will be monitored in a passive mode to provide wake-on-shake functionality (to limit power used on the led array) and correct for palm-up vs. palm-down viewing. My intention is to encase the (final iteration) electronics in a semi-sheer fabric shell to create a sleeker appearance while either inactive (smooth, functional garment) or active (pleasant and clear indication). Some experimentation may be needed to ensure good GPS reception, passive mode shake-monitoring, and light diffusion/transmission through various fabrics. Expansions of this test could include the other input devices (Flora light sensor, capacitive touch with the conductive fabric, etc.) or software/interaction improvements (setting new GPS coordinates, fade-in/out effects, indication of proximity to destination, etc.).


Bill Shaw
United States
Bill's first electronic tear-down occurred around the age of two. "Billy was quiet for hours!" - Mom. "Grrrr! That was expensive!" - Dad. Since then, he's managed to learn to put things back together, sometimes in very interesting ways. He currently offers after-school programs and camps teaching kids robotics and programming. Bill is also the founder of Inspiration Labs, a non-profit organization in pursuit of Tampa's first hackerspace.Proposal:  First, I live within 90 minutes of about 20 world class roller coasters. Using the accelerometer, I want to log the ride on as many as possible. While it's logging, I plan to have a real time display using LED strips showing how thrilling the ride is. Second, I'd like to use the FLORA to add a gaming element to geocaching by making an app to let us turn the device into a wearable homing device for a weekend event. Players compete to find locations using clues and navigational tips from their FLORA. Third, I want to build a wearable health monitoring device using sensors to monitor respiration, heartbeat and level of physical activity.