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