Something a bit light-hearted—or light-bottomed—for you all today. This motion-reactive, Neopixel LED skirt by makeTVee popped up on Hackaday this morning, and I think it deserves to have some, ahem, light shed on it. Not sorry.
It's interactive, it's flashy, and it's the coolest item of clothing I've spotted in 2021 so far—better than most of the gear that contributes to one of the only reasons I play Cyberpunk 2077: it's fashion. So I had to share it with you all; bask in it's effervescent glory, damn you.
Altogether, there are 120 LEDs lining the front of the skirt. Nestled beneath a semi-transparent top layer are six strips of twenty LED's attached to the white middle layer, which are all removable for easy washing. The designer was even thoughtful enough to refrain from placing any LED's around the back—feminine clothing is already restrictive enough, so I approve. Although he notes "for special reasons (e.g. dancing), this skirt can be easily updated to a full LED set by adding stripes on the back via Velcro."
There are several lighting functions, including a fanciful "Fire" setting, "Meteor rain" which is just mesmerising, and "Bouncing balls." The latter is motion triggered—as the model hops, the lights react to their movement.
The makers girlfriend kindly sewed the skirt for the prototype, and in an exclusive chat with the designer, they revealed that the project took just "one weekend for the hardware (sewing and LEDs) and 2-3 evenings for the coding." They also noted that, if they could start over, they might've added "some more columns to have a more matrix like shape for games and animations." Man, that would be too cool. Imagine playing Tetris on your skirt.
If you're wondering what tech went into the design, this thing's packing an Adafruit QT PY with LSM6DSO32 board, 120 WS2812B Neopixel LEDs and a 5000 mAh USB power bank.
As far as wearables go, it's not the most practical of the lot, but it sure does catch the eye. Check out makeTVee's Hackaday profile for more exciting LED-based projects on the way, and even more lighting effects for the skirt, including a gyro triggered one.
If you're thinking of trying something similar (I'm sure it doesn't have to be a skirt), makeTVee has graciously outlined all the details you need in the projects Hackaday page. They also point to Instructables, Hackaday, and the Adafruit site for more helpful info.
Look, I know Valentines Day's just gone, but that's no reason not to get your hack on for the one you love. You should be doting on the skirt-wearing light of your life (okay, I'm going now) all year round. Failing that, why not treat yourself to some snazzy wearable LEDs?