Posts with «wearable computing» label

15-year-old Maker builds his own $60 AR headset

Instructables author Daniel Quintana loves mountain biking, but after having to interrupt a ride to continuously check the time, he did what any normal teenager would do in this situation: he created his own Google Glass-like headset from scratch.

His DIY AR device, called “Uware,” takes the form of a 3D-printed enclosure with a tiny 0.49″ OLED screen stuffed inside, along with an HC-06 Bluetooth module, an APDS-9960 gesture sensor, a 3.7V battery, and of course, a tiny Arduino Pro Mini for control.

In normal usage, the wearable displays the time and text messages transmitted from Quintana’s phone over Bluetooth via a custom app that he wrote. Swiping right in front of the gesture sensor puts it into camera mode, allowing him to capture the environment hands-free!

Want to see more? You can find Quintana’s write-up here, or check out Uware’s prototype electronics setup and custom magnetic charging rig in the videos below!

Smartwatch convenience ‘moves’ to the next level

To address the limitations of today’s fixed-face watches, researchers have come up with an actuated smartphone concept that physically moves itself using an Arduino Due, Bluetooth and several motors.

Receiving Internet notifications has gone from using a computer, to checking them on your smartphone, to now simply seeing them come in on your wearable device. On the other hand, you still have to rotate your wrist into the right position to see the screen. Worse yet, if you want to show others what is on your wrist, you may even have to twist your arm awkwardly.

Fortunately, there is a possible solution to this scourge in the form of Cito, which bills itself as “An Actuated Smartwatch for Extended Interactions.” This design can move in five different directions–rotates, hinges, translates, orbits and rises–potentially making viewing more convenient, or even providing haptic feedback. Prototype electronics are housed inside a control box on the upper arm, but presumably would become much smaller in a production version.

You can see the team’s entire paper here, or read this write-up for a more involved summary.

Photo: Jun Gong

Smart earbud lets you control your phone with facial expressions

After much experimentation, researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research in Rostock and the University of Cologne in Germany have developed an electronically-augmented earplug that can read facial expressions and convert them into controls for your smartphone. For example, you may soon be able to answer a call with a wink or launch an app by moving your head to one side.

The prototype of this EarFieldSensing, or EarFS, technology consists of the earbud itself, a reference electrode attached to the user’s earlobe, and an Arduino along with four sensing shields in a companion bag.

Currently, the system can recognize five expressions–winking, smiling, opening your mouth, making a ‘shh’ sound, and turning your head the right–with over 85% accuracy while walking, and even better when sitting. Hands-free emojis would be an obvious use case, but perhaps it could be employed for covert signaling as well. Was that a nice smile, or are you calling in backup? It could also be quite useful while driving or for those with disabilities.

You can read more about EarFS in the team’s paper and in this New Scientist article.

Photo: Denys J.C. Matthies / Daily Mail

Skintillates: Temporary tattoos with embedded electronics

Developed by a team of UC Berkeley students, Skintillates is a wearable technology that mimics tattoos.

When you think of temporary tattoos, you likely think of something that comes out of a gumball dispenser, or perhaps “art” that you got on a spring break trip. As interesting as those may be, Skintillates is taking things to the next level.

These “epidermal wearable interactive devices” can serve as everything from passive and active on-skin displays, to capacitive and resistive sensors for controlling gadgets, to strain gauges for posture detection.

Using several layers allows these designs to stick to the skin, integrate various electronics, and have visible art for others to see. Electronics can mean that the tattoos can integrate sensors, or perhaps even LEDs. In at least one case, these lights are programmed to flash along with the beat of music, driven by an Arduino hidden under the wearer’s clothing.

Just like the traditional temporary tattoos often worn by children and adults alike, Skintillates flex naturally with the user’s skin. Our simple fabrication technique also enables users to freely design and print with a full range of colors to create application-specific customized designs.

You can find more on this project on the Hybrid Ecologies Lab page and read the team’s entire paper here.

(Photos: Eric Paulos)

Smartwatch prototype turns your wrist into a joystick

Although smartwatches were designed to be an easy-to-use alternative for your smartphone, interacting with their touchscreens still requires your opposite hand to be free. So what do you do when you’re carrying a bag of groceries or holding onto a bus handle?

This is the problem a Dartmouth-led team set out to solve with WristWhirl, a smartwatch prototype that uses the wrist wearing the device as a joystick to perform common touchscreen gestures with one-handed continuous input, while freeing up the other hand for other tasks.

WristWhirl was built using a two-inch TFT display and a plastic watch strap equipped with a dozen infrared proximity sensors and a piezo vibration sensor, which is connected to an Arduino Due board. Commands are then made by moving the hand as if it were operating a joystick, while a finger pinch turns the sensors on/off to indicate the start or end of a gesture.

For starters, the team implemented four sample applications with off-the-shelf games and Google Maps to illustrate potential use cases.

Four usage scenarios for WristWhirl were tested: 1) a gesture shortcuts app was created, which allowed users to access shortcuts by drawing gestures; 2) a music player app was created, which allowed users to scroll through songs through wrist-swipes and play a selected song by double tapping the thumb and index fingers; 3) a map app was implemented for which 2D maps could be panned and zoomed depending on where the watch was held in relation to one’s body; and 4) game input, which often requires continuous input was tested, for which Tetris was played using a combination of wrist swipes, wrist extension and wrist flexion.

You can read more about the project on its page here, as well as see a demonstration of it below!

 

A multimeter heads-up display with Arduino glasses

With Alain Mauer’s Arduino glasses and a Bluetooth multimeter, electrical data is always in view!

If you’re in a job where you have to take readings inside a live electrical panel, one thing that’s inconvenient, and even dangerous at times, is having to look away from your hands to read your multimeter. With hopes of “making an engineer’s life easier and safer,” Mauer solved this problem using an Arduino Pro Micro and a BLE module to show data from a Bluetooth-enabled multimeter. Now he can see data on a display that looks similar to a Google Glass device. Perhaps this method could be expanded to other devices in the future!

If you’d like to build your own glasses, a description and 3D printing files can be found on Hackaday.io.

PIXIE is an Arduino-based NeoPixel watch

Not looking for a smartwatch? PIXIE is an Arduino-based NeoPixel wearable device that not only keeps time, but will also keep your geek cred intact.

You won’t find any numbers on this watch; instead, PIXIE uses LEDs to reveal the time–hours in blue, minutes in red, and seconds in green. Beyond that,  a capacitive touch switch on its strap will activate a flashlight mode.

In terms of electronics, PIXIE is equipped with an Arduino Pro Mini, an Adafruit NeoPixel Ring, a real-time clock module, and a few other components–all housed inside a simple cardboard box with a piece of transparent plexiglass.

Sound like you’d like around your wrist? Check out its Instructables page here.

This LED skirt will take your outfit to infinity and beyond

Redditor SexyCyborg–who you may recall from her Hikaru Skirt last year–is back with another Arduino-driven, open-source wearable project. Inspired by traditional Chinese armor, the aptly named Infinity Skirt features an array of LED-lit mirror tiles that together form a flexible, reconfigurable matrix. Safe to say, she’ll certainly turn some heads at this October’s Maker Faire Shenzhen.

Every tile measures 66mm on each edge, and has four magnetic electrical conductors that can link it to it’s neighboring tile. So long as each row and column gets power, there is endless variations that can be tried. With an Arduino and LED matrix controller, each individual tile can be controlled so complex patterns can play across the surface. This is just a first prototype though so all the lights get power continuously and there is no matrix control.

You can find more pictures of her build on Imgur, download all the skirt’s 3D files on Thingiverse, as well as read Adafruit’s original article here.

Kick the habit with a cigarette smoke-detecting shirt

You’ve heard it before, smoking is bad for your health. However, despite the countless warnings, millions of people continue to use cigarettes–including 7th grade student Petter’s dad. Mindful of this, the young Maker came up with a new way to shame smokers into quitting.

The aptly named “Cigarette Smoke Detecting Shirt” consists of an Arduino LilyPad, a smoke sensor, and three LED sequins, all sewn into the t-shirt using conductive thread. When cigarette smoke is sensed, one of three different lights illuminate alongside a message to embarrass the wearer such as “stinky breath,” “yellow teeth,” or “lung cancer.”

In the future, Petter hopes to finish the prototype and start making more shirts to sell on Etsy. Whether or not this idea takes off, it’s pretty cool nonetheless. As Adafruit puts it, “This is such a fine example of a project that works on an issue and gets students excited about STEM.”

Cosmic Bitcasting is a wearable radiation detector

Cosmic Bitcasting is a digital art and science project emerging from the idea of connecting the human body with the cosmos by creating a wearable device with embedded light, sound and vibration that will provide sensory information on the invisible cosmic radiation that surrounds us. This open-source project actually works by detecting secondary muons generated by cosmic rays hitting the Earth’s atmosphere that pass through the body.

Artist Afroditi Psarra and experimental physicist Cécile Lapoire worked together to develop a prototype of the wearable cosmic ray detector during a one-month residency at Etopia in Zaragoza, and is currently on display at the Etopia-Center for Art and Technology in Zaragoza as part of the exhibition REVERBERADAS.

Cosmic Bitcasting is comprised of an Arduino Lilypad, High Flex 3981 7×1 fach Kupfer blank conductive thread from Karl Grimm, Pure Copper Polyester Taffeta Fabric by Less EMF, white SMD LEDs, a coin cell vibration motor, and an IRL3103 MOSFET with a 100 Ohm resistor to drive the motor.

Intrigued? Take a look at the video below and read the diary of the residency to learn more!