After deciding on the wearable form factor, I started to build out the prototype thinking about all the pieces that might become part of the project, and how they might fit comfortably on the body. I made a glove and forearm cuff out of neoprene and began to attach components.
For this version I prototype I used:
- Flora development board
- the Flora 9-DOF Accelerometer/Gyroscope/Magnetometer
- the Flora Wearable Bluefruit LE Module
- Flora Sewable Neopixels
I connected them using the Adafruit 2-ply conductive thread and flexible stranded wire. I worked on my own connector between the conductive thread and the stranded wire to connect the accelerometer to the Flora. I cut up a perf-board that I could solder the wires to. Then I stitched through the holes with conductive thread. I had to be very careful that my threads didn't fray at all because even the slightest fiber could short the connections. Unfortunately, the connection was still not good enough. Somehow the circuit shorted and after a couple uses the Flora completely stopped receiving data from the accelerometer. After troubleshooting with alligator clips, I replaced the new accelerometer stopped working just as quickly. I think the movement of the circuit will continue to be a major obstacle.
Connector + Flora
Connector + Accerlometer
Knitting with Prototype
Aside from the poor connection, the prototype did give me a good sense for how to place the components on the arm. The location on the back of the forearm does work really well. I got a lot of good feedback about the aesthetic. I think people were really drawn to the exposed circuit.