For those interested in designing and developing wearables, the growing DIY culture is a great place to get your hands dirty. Alison Lewis, of Switch, published a book titled Switch Craft that includes a variety of projects that help you learn about crafting soft circuits. The projects allow you to show off, share alike, work it, and play hard. They range from simple fabric magnets that light up to plush pillows you can use to talk to your friends. Most projects use existing circuits that you hack and embed into fabrics. Here are a couple of my favorites:
This fashionable hat makes you look good while hiding away your iPod shuffle. There’s not much circuitry involved since you simply sew your shuffle directly into the hat. The controls are built into the flower pedals, so you simply position the controls from your shuffle under them, which allows you to control the volume and change songs.
A pillow that connects your cell phone so that you can “pillow talk” your friends to sleep. Making this looks fairly straightforward. Simply integrate headphones with a speaker input into the pillow. There is some re-wiring involved.
These are my absolute favorites! These cute little plushy companions light up when they kiss. The circuit used is a simple LED light with a battery. The wiring is sewn into the fabric to the mouth so when they touch, it completes the circuit and lights each companion up. Adorable.
For the bad angel in all of us, the Voodoodoll wiggles and squirms when it’s poked with a needle. The circuit is made up of a battery and a vibrating motor set. A sponge is stuffed inside the doll that is wrapped in conductive fabric. When the pin is pushed into the conductive sponge, it triggers the circuit and makes the little guy shake.
To see more of these adorable soft-circuit projects, get the book here.