I bike almost everyday in New York City. Because of work and school, I am often on the road late at night so road safety is a big concern. But even with LED headlights and taillights (as required by law), drivers seldom seem to pay much attention to those who travel on two wheels.
The Heart Bike Jacket is designed to bring a level of human-ness to my bike gear. By mimicking the shape of a real human heart, I hope to remind drivers behind me that I’m not just a nuisance on the road; I’m also a living human being, subject to the hazards of the road and much less protected than the driver.
I modified the inverter from a T-qualizer shirt to respond to the audio signal from my mp3 player instead of sound and used the inverter to drive electroluminescent wire attached to my headphones. The inverter lights up different colors of EL wire depending on the loudness of the music I’m listening to. The headphone decoration looks like a signal level meter.
On one hand ‘Cloud’ is an Arduino controlled, motion triggered lightning & thunder performance. On the other it is a music activated visualizer & suspended speaker unit. The cloud is made by felting hypoallergenic fiberfill to a sponge casing which forms the frame of the cloud and holds the speakers and componentry. The felting tool used is a custom made felting tool made from the left over sponge and 4 felting needles. To control the functions of the cloud there are three tactile switches scattered around the base. The concept references real clouds which constantly change shape through the switches requiring constant exploration to find the right switch to turn the right feature on or off.
The main difference with my new design is how the EL wire is controlled. Before, I had the entire box controlled with an analog circuit. I like to make things analog whenever possible, and given how simple a graphic equalizer is, it wasn’t much of a challenge. This presented a problem this time around though.
The new glasses will be set up on a display for a silent auction, and keeping in line with the “silent” aspect, there won’t be any loud music to show them off. This makes them a lot less desirable as a simple description card really can’t convey how cool they are.
This meant that I had to incorporate some kind of “demo” mode which eventually turned into making a full-on digital sequencer that can either react to music or play back pre-recorded patterns.
EL Wire, also known as Electroluminescent wire, is a stiff wire core coated with phosphor and then covered with a protective PVC sheath. When an AC signal is applied to it, it glows a cool neon color. Find out how to solder, power, and work with EL Wire in your next project.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Each day this month (Monday-Friday) we’re going to have a special “Electronic Halloween” post here on Adafruit. It will be a hack, mod, project or something we’ve found that combines all the best things about electronics and Halloween.
Last weekend I taught an EL wire class at The Madagascar Institute in Brooklyn, NY. In true Adafruit fashion, I’ve created a guide to running your own EL class or workshop at your local hackerspace, makerspace, school, or club! Head over to the Adafruit Learning System to find out my tips and tricks for instruction as well as a full list of supplemental materials you should pick up for your students. Madagascar Institute has a great model for classes – the instructor and the venue split the class fee equally, and they use Eventbrite for class signups. Classes can be a perfect way to raise rent for your space while finding new members! I’ll be teaching another EL wire class on Sunday, August 26th.
You might have caught my class on the Adafruit Show-and-Tell!
NEW PRODUCTS – EL Flowing Effect Wire with Inverter – Blue, Green or Pink – 2.0 meter (6.5 ft). If you want to make your EL project a little more dynamic, you can swap in this nifty ‘flowing effect’ EL wire for the every-day stuff. Instead of a single core, this wire is actually a bundle of three thin EL wires. Inside the inverter is a little timer that will cycle through the strands to make it look like its moving. There’s a wheel to adjust the speed and a button to select the mode. The three modes are ‘all on’, ‘all off’ and ‘flow effect’.
This pack comes with 2 meters of EL flow wire attached to a 2xAA inverter, use any AA batteries (alkalines are better and brighter but it works fine with NiMH rechargeables). There’s a belt clip on the inverter so you can attach it to something.
This EL type isn’t meant to be cut and re-soldered because of the triple-core so keep in mind that you can cut it short but we don’t suggest trying to splice or re-solder to the wire. Runs for about 5 hours off of two AA batteries.
Please note! EL tape, EL wire and EL panel are made with different processes – the color and brightness will not be consistent between the different types of EL products. The EL flow wire will not match the regular EL wire, EL tap or EL panel exactly, they all will be slightly different colors.
Learn to use EL wire to make light-up clothing and accessories in this hands-on workshop with Becky Stern, director of wearable electronics at Adafruit Industries. Bring a bag, stiff hat, jacket, pair of shoes, or other item to adorn with EL wire. Each student will receive an EL starter pack from Adafruit plus extra goodies. Tools, sewing supplies and adhesives will be available for use. No prior experience necessary, and you will walk out of the class with a working EL project.
Just in time for Burning Man, this class can jump start your outfit! Leave class ready for the Playa.
First Becky will demonstrate common techniques for working with EL wire, tape, and panel. Then you will design a project that adds EL wire to the item at hand– anything from a bicycle to a pair of sunglasses. It’s important to remember to bring an item to mod/illuminate. Bring multiple things if you’re not sure what will work best.
The rest of the class time will be used to start construction on your project. If it requires soldering or other special treatment, we’ll try to get all those bits done during class so it’s easy to finish at home.
At 9:30 we can all attend Adafruit’s weekly project show-and-tell via Google+ and show off our projects.
You have two options in EL materials: wire or tape. EL wire is like a spaghetti noodle of light, and EL tape is a long flat band that is illuminated on one side.
The EL wire is better for doing lots of edging or fine lines, the tape can really only be in straight lines and is better for less flexible applications. Please note your kit and color selection upon checkout- one kit per person.
$35 materials fee + $80 class fee ($40 for members)
Dress for the weather. The shop is as cold as is it outside or as hot. Bring bug spray, beverages, and prepare to get dirty.
EL Wire (and Tape) with Becky Stern Saturday August 4th 7-9:45pm The Madagascar Institute 217 Butler Street Brooklyn NY
I have a question. I have a cuttable El Sheet panel which has 4 connector pins, 1 for each side.
If I have cut out my shapes and used up these pins but still have some leftover el sheet. How do i use the remainder el sheet without any connector pins?
Do I solder onto the el panel tabs or is this too risky? What methods are available if I want to use these bits of the El Sheet which don’t have connector pins?
Would you suggest wire glue? I haven’t seen anyone answer this question yet, so thought I would ask!
This is a great question as I am sure this is not a unique problem!
Short answer to your question is yes (well probably yes, I don’t have any on hand so this is hypothetical. Please chime in on the topic if they have/have not had success)….but looks like it will be a bit tricky. If you look at the cross-section of your el sheet, you are going to have to remove a small amount of material in order to expose conductive ITO layer. You should be able to do this by carefully scraping through the rear protective film, rear electrode, and phosphor dielectric or by going through the cover protective film on the front. Once you have exposed a small amount of ITO layer, I would recommend using a drop of wire glue to connect your electrode. Make sure you you have completely cleaned and isolated the ITO + wire glue bond from the phosphor and rear electrode as it will produce an electrical short. For the rear electrode, you should just be able to carefully remove the protective film and attach your wire with a drop of wire glue.
Let us know how it goes. It is always fun to experiment and see just what you can do!
I hope this has helped and as I asked before, if anyone has, or wants to give it a try, let us know how it goes!
Don’t forget, everyone is invited to ask a question!