Weekly Update #1

first round of parts


Done this week:

Some conceptual work:

I’ve investigated a few patterns for Ponchos — Eleanor showed me a short poncho she’d made (Thanks!), and I found a few other designs online.  I’ve cut the simplest in muslin to use as a testbed, to test sizing and weight of attached shells.

(Also I’m using the words “garment” for the washable mostly cloth part, and “shells” for the non-washable, removable, mostly plastic parts.)

First round of candidate parts have been purchased.  Some are still arriving.


  • An Adafruit Feather with bluetooth, and an inductive charge reciever pad; these drive the shape and size of the main module.
  • Some snaps (More on the way;  sewable and not; magnetic and not).  Need to test viability of these as ways to fit the shells onto the garment. (Thanks to Jess for heads up on a wholesaler with nice sewables.)
  • Non-snap magnets; Maybe shells can stick directly to other shells?
  • A few kinds of breadboards (more on the way).  Need to decide if these are part of how components plug into the shells.
  • Female to Female breadboard wires; these, along with some spare male headers (not yet arrived) are useful for components that don’t fit well on a breadboard, or to keep the breadboard from getting too crowded.  They may also be how things connect within the shells.
  • Some gas sensors donated by a friend, who insists I “make a fart sensor”.




Need to sew my testbed; I think I’m up to speed on how to make the sewing machines go, but I still need to actually do it.

Also, I kept running into parts I didn’t know I needed ( spare header, female (not just male) breadboard cables, resistors, capacitors, maybe diodes eventually … ).  I think I’ve got enough for a bit.


I’m not completely sure what the whole thing does; or rather, as a generic modular system, right now it does everything.  Everything is not a very concrete concept.  I may want to find some theme for the final demonstration — or themes, to highlight the versatility.  I need a stronger narrative for what this thing is.  Maybe a focus: current plans are extremely shell-heavy;  what happens in the garment part — why are the shells attached there in the first place?

Breadboards have rails and friction-based sockets.  Should I be building those into my thing (using what — would copper tape be viable?), or using existing breadboards?

I’m also looking at using I2C between shells.  This simplifies connections (4 shared rails for everybody), but it may mean a microcontroller (adafruit trinkets? something cheaper?) per shell. I’m not sure if that makes power more complicated; I’d like to keep it to a single battery.

A plan for the next week of work

I need to test parts and decide, for the first prototypes:

  • which fasteners can hold shells onto the garment
  • what sorts of internals I’m building — fixed modules, or just cases for breadboards, or a mix of both?
    • this probably means a closer look at exactly what pins components expect (and how easy it is to rig them all for I2C)
  • finish prelim design of shells; maybe print tests