Tutorial: A quick wearables guide.



Illustration by Rob Nance

Wearable-specific microcontrollers are small, so as to be comfortable and discrete. On the other hand, the distinctive shapes and colors can function as a decorative element. Several of the boards available are hand-washable (minus the power source). Read the documentation carefully.

In place of pins, these boards have metal eyelets which you can loop conductive thread through to sew soft circuit connections. Some boards also have snaps — or eyelets large enough to solder on snaps — for easy removal.

A material containing metals, such as silver or stainless steel, through which an electrical current can flow is said to be conductive. Wearable systems can make use of these materials in a variety of ways, such as:

Sensors gather information about the environment, the user, or both. Examples of the former include light, temperature, motion (ACC), and location (GPS). Examples of the latter include heart rate (ECG), brain waves (EEG), and muscle tension (EMG). A few wearable microcontrollers have basic sensors onboard. Other manufacturers offer a range of external sensor modules that connect to the main board.

When scoping out a wearable design one of the first things to consider is the power requirement. Do you just want to illuminate a few LEDs, or do you want to run a servomotor? Boards with an integrated holder for a lithium coin battery are nice for low-power projects that need to be self-contained. However boards with a standard JST connector (with or without a circuit to charge LiPo batteries) are more versatile.

One generic way to describe a wearable system is: In response to X, where X is the input from a sensor, Y happens. Actuators such as LEDs, buzzers or speakers, and servomotors are what make things happen.

To communicate with smart devices, the internet, or other wearable systems, you need wireless connectivity. In addition to wi-fi and Bluetooth, wearable-friendly options include:

BLE, which has lower power consumptionthan classic Bluetooth, a range of 50m, and a data transmission rate up to 1 Mbps
NFC, a radio frequency field with a range ofapproximately 20cm and data transmission rate up to about 400 Kbps

Source: Make Magazine

Related Posts

  • News: smart tattoos to store data and deliver meds  I want a PinUp Nurse tattoo to deliver the meds!!! is it cool or what? ;) Wearables are not going to be just clunky watches or nerdy glasses. Researchers announced this weekend they have created a wearable device as thin as a temporary tattoo — essentially, a wearable skin…
    Tags: the, a, and, of, to, or, as, wearables
  • News: In pictures #OSHWCOn #2011 #MadridWe attended the OSHWCon 2011 in Madrid. A great experience to share and learn with many interesting people. We made friends and learn a lot! Thanks in advace to the Synusia team for making a wonderful event! Here are some pics of the event!
    Tags: the, a, to, and, are, of, with, make
  • What is the Internet of Things (IoT)The Internet of Things: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfEbMV295Kk What is the Internet of Things? (IoT) If you listen to big business and big technology then the next big thing will be the Internet Of Things. What's that? The clue's in the name. It's about connecting objects to, and via, the internet. One of…
    Tags: the, of, and, to, a