Archive for the ‘Wearable Computing’ Category

Smartwatch convenience ‘moves’ to the next level

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

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. (more…)

Smart earbud lets you control your phone with facial expressions

Friday, April 7th, 2017

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. (more…)

Skintillates: Temporary tattoos with embedded electronics

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

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. (more…)

Smartwatch prototype turns your wrist into a joystick

Monday, October 17th, 2016

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. (more…)

A multimeter heads-up display with Arduino glasses

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

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!

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PIXIE is an Arduino-based NeoPixel watch

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

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, a lithium-ion battery, and a few other components–all housed inside a simple cardboard box with a piece of transparent plexiglass. (more…)

This LED skirt will take your outfit to infinity and beyond

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

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. (more…)

Kick the habit with a cigarette smoke-detecting shirt

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

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.” (more…)

Cosmic Bitcasting is a wearable radiation detector

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

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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. (more…)

Wear a connected hoodie that displays tweets and text

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Let’s face it, developers and programmers love their hoodies. That’s why last fall, a few members of the FirstBuild team built a connected sweatshirt capable of displaying text and tweets with a specific hashtag.

The hoodie is equipped with a Blend Micro board and a 16 x 32 LED matrix panel with a plastic overlay that’s sewn into a cutout on the front of the shirt. The system connects with a smartphone over Bluetooth to reveal the message, though in the future its creators hope to add animated GIFs. (more…)