I finally received my package on Monday!

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Here's my very own GPS Starter Pack! [I am not entirely sure why I was compelled to open the bag of test leads]

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And here are a few other things (Tactile On/Off Switch, FLORA  Lux Sensor, FLORA Accelerometer/Compass Sensor, Magnetic Pin Back, JST-PH Battery Extension Cable, Woven Conductive Fabric, and FLORA Color Sensor)!

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Everything arrived safe and sound. The packaging was very good and everything comes in its own (static-dissipating) bag. Getting started with the FLORA was fairly easy, as my fellow road testers have described. The Adafruit "Getting Sarted with FLORA" was very good, although I did do a quick Google search to find a more up-to-date guide for installing unsigned drivers on my Microsoft Surface (running Windows 8 Pro); the first result even had pictures. Once the drivers were installed, I tried a few of the other tutorials. The included alligator-clipped leads are great for making sure everything works well, their narrow tips fit well on the FLORA hardware (and quite a bit better than my larger clips might have). The minor scratching left behind from the clips seems a small price to pay for a solid, solderless test connection. The Accelerometer/Compass tutorial and GPS tutorial followed shortly after. The example code looks prime for cannibalizing and adapting to my project.

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So, where are we at?

  1. Review and test parts - I'll verify that the electronics work and I will run the code from the Adafruit tutorials.
  2. LED Array - I'll take my first shot at sewing with stainless steel and build a circular, 8-NeoPixel array sized to fit in the palm of my hand
  3. Accelerometer - The accelerometer will be used to determine if I am holding my palm up or down AND to signal my LED array to turn on if I shake it hard enough.
  4. Compass - The magnetometer will be used while the LEDs are active to indicate my bearing, compensating for hand orientation
  5. GPS - The GPS unit will be used to help calculate initial bearings and possibly distance as well. I'll have to see how the device reacts to different orientations and fabrics.
  6. Physical Layout - I will have to figure out how to fit all of those goodies on the front and back of a glove (while not sacrificing wearability)
  7. User Experience - This is probably a good time to make the lighting pattern more interesting or informative, iron out bugs, test accuracy and a few failure modes.
  8. Sewing - This will be an interesting experience, I hope that local fabric stores will allow me to test the light diffusion/transmission of different fabrics I will encase the finalized electronics in. I also have never sewn gloves before but look forward to practicing. A lot. I really want to make this look like a real/well-finished product.
  9. Light Balancing? - The Lux sensor might help me adjust the brightness level for appropriate day/nighttime use.
  10. Low Power? - If I have time, I will try to see if there are ways to reduce power consumption.
  11. Capacitive touch buttons? - If I have time, it would be nice to be able to change destinations.

 

I guess that I still have some catching up to do!

 

Stay tuned for whip stitching, vector math, haversines (or reasonable approximations), and more!