I finally received my package on Monday!
Here's my very own GPS Starter Pack! [I am not entirely sure why I was compelled to open the bag of test leads]
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)!
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.
So, where are we at?
- Review and test parts - I'll verify that the electronics work and I will run the code from the Adafruit tutorials.
- 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
- 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.
- Compass - The magnetometer will be used while the LEDs are active to indicate my bearing, compensating for hand orientation
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- Light Balancing? - The Lux sensor might help me adjust the brightness level for appropriate day/nighttime use.
- Low Power? - If I have time, I will try to see if there are ways to reduce power consumption.
- 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!