We're excited about the July 2012 launch of the Wearable Technology kit on the official Arduino store. It is produced by our friends at Florence-based Plug'n'Wear and allows Makers to "experiment with wearable sensors and actuators" in order to make one's first moves into interactive wearable design.

wearable tech arduino kit

Wearable technology arduino kit by Plug'n'Wear

One of the nice things about this kit is the story behind the development of wearable technology in Tuscany. Riccardo Marchesi spoke about this at World Wide Rome in March 2012 - how he helped his family's textile production company move into producing high tech materials. As he says in this video (only in Italian), an age-old method of production (knitwear) combined with a material that has existed for just as long (metal thread) becomes high tech. This happens when you use extant know-how and machinery - two elements that are highly present in Tuscany - with a modern outlook that responds to new market demands. Now the company produces modern day suits of armour to protect people from electromagnetic waves or motorcycle accidents.

The woven metal fabrics, it turns out, are also very good conductors, allowing you to incorporate electronics into clothing and other objects, allowing not only for a great "gadget" factor but for medical applications with bio-feedback.

If this gets you excited, you'll want to buy the kit, which contains:

  1. 1x Circular Stretch Sensor Designed by Hannah Perner-Wilson, this circular knit stretch sensor works perfect when you need to detect tension in many projects.
  2. 2x Textile push button to make easy digital inputs in cloth, scarfs o bags.
  3. 2x Spools of Conductive thread, ready to be hooked over a sewing machine
  4. 2x Soft potentiometer kit will let you import analog data into your wearable project: this kit includes 1 meter of knitted conductive tape and a metal ring. Watch it in action (see video)
  5. 10x 1k ohm resistor
  6. 10x 10k ohm resistor
  7. 1x Textile perfboard is going to change the way you think of wearable circuits. You can sew or even solder components (SMD & through-hole) on this . It can be easily cut or sewn with a standard sewing machine. Washable. Size: 15 cm x 15 cm (6" x 6") / Pitch: 2.54 mm (0.1")
  8. 1x Knitted Coated Copper Tape. Small conductive tape made of coated copper fine wire (112 micron). Flexible, easy to cut, sewable with a standard sewing machine, It can be easily welded ( The coating will melt and tape will be soldered). The surface of this tape has a good insulation thrughout its lenght. Resistance: 107 Ohm/m. Width: 9 mm (0.35")
  9. 1x Analog Textile Press Button, working with a resistive principle (resistance goes down when you press it). It works as a bend sensor as well. By connecting more sensors together it is possible to make a matrix analog switch. Sensitive area 40mm x 40mm (1.57"x1.57")
  10. 2x LilyPad LED Bright White A simple, very bright, 250mcd, white LED LilyPad.

 

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