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The Whoa Board makes things glow.  It also makes glow-y things sense touch. It's an open prototyping platform for wearable electronics!
The Whoa Board makes things glow.  It also makes glow-y things sense touch. It's an open prototyping platform for wearable electronics!
The Whoa Board makes things glow. It also makes glow-y things sense touch. It's an open prototyping platform for wearable electronics!
307 backers pledged $26,857 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Whoa Board: Dream With Touch Sensing EL Wire, Panels, Paint project video thumbnail
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Whoa Board: Dream With Touch Sensing EL Wire, Panels, Paint

$26,857

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Whoa?

Turn any EL (Electro-Luminescient) material into a touch sensor with no additional hardware. It's an open prototyping platform for wearable electronics! Open source and Arduino IDE compatible.

There are many different EL materials, including EL paint, EL panels, EL tape, EL wire.  They have been integrated into a variety of applications, from motorcycle jackets, to masks, to cars.  

The Whoa Board makes this jacket respond to movement
The Whoa Board makes this jacket respond to movement

 

Touch sensitivity powered by the Whoa Board, Mask design by iLuminate
Touch sensitivity powered by the Whoa Board, Mask design by iLuminate

Press! 

LumiLor - "The Whoa Board is an amazing piece of innovative technology. Think of it like a light switch for electroluminescent materials without the pesky switch itself."

Futurism • Hack a Day • Make: • Somerville ScoutTechno BuffaloElectronics Lab • Launch Ticker • Electric Runway • Fashionably Geek • Inngineers • Geeky Gadgets • Fabcross.jp

A more behind the scenes look.

Wait, be a bit more specific.

All that you need to get started is the Whoa Board, a micro-usb cable, and a piece of EL.

No programming required!

 

Turn EL materials into touch sensors out of the box!
Turn EL materials into touch sensors out of the box!

However it is also a fully featured (open source and arduino compatible) prototyping platform optimized for wearable electronics.  Follow the development effort with our github repo! 

Reprogram the Whoa Board with the click of a button!
Reprogram the Whoa Board with the click of a button!

It has a number of programmable hardware pins that can be used for everything from communicating with wireless modules, to listening to a microphone.  In particular speaks the following serial protocols: UART, SPI, and I2C. 

It can also output keyboard instructions or MIDI over it's micro-usb port. This means that the Whoa board is flexible, and can be used to pass data to everything from a banana to a computer, illuminating EL elements in the process.

Make the Whoa Board control EL elements with a banana.
Make the Whoa Board control EL elements with a banana.

It turns EL elements into capacitive sensing elements, a similar technique to cell phone screens.  This means that it can measure presence at a distance. 

Use the whoa board to make a visual theramin!
Use the whoa board to make a visual theramin!

When EL elements are integrated into clothes, these measurements are sensitive enough to detect movement.  

Leggings whose light flow reacts to movement! Design by Nicole Hogarty.
Leggings whose light flow reacts to movement! Design by Nicole Hogarty.

 

What are EL materials?

Electro-luminescient (EL) materials have been in use for over 60 years. They exist in many different forms (wire, paint, panels, tape), and have several advantages over other lighting technologies:

These properties make them well suited for integration into smart clothes, and other wearable electronics projects.  They are also great for illuminating complex geometries. 

The Whoa Board's patent pending LumiSense technology for the first time makes it possible to turn any of them into a sensor.

This makes it easy to integrate interactive elements into designs that previously could have only been realized by complex and bulky systems.

The Whoa Board is a totally new design tool!

It makes it possible to translate ideas from VR into the headset-less world.  

Dress By Nicole Hogarty, Poi performance by Asmara Vega
Dress By Nicole Hogarty, Poi performance by Asmara Vega

More than that, it radically expands the design possibilities for smart clothes, and we are really excited to see what the community will produce!

Use touch sensing to trigger LED's!
Use touch sensing to trigger LED's!

Additionally, as we explore new applications of this technology together, we would like to facilitate a conversation which leads us to discover ways to manufacture these new garments sustainably. To this end, we have partnered with the Tripty Project to source fabrics for our higher level rewards.

This article provides a good jumping off point thinking about the current ecological impact of the fashion industry.  

Stretch Goals

 

Community

Partners: Tripty Project - A sustainable fashion organization based out of Oakland, CA and Bangladesh that develops and manufactures beautiful textiles that are fairly produced and have low carbon footprints.

Follow the Honey - A honey distributor that pushes farmers in the developing world to engage in farming practices that are friendlier to pollinators by creating a market for their honey. Organized under the auspices of #BlackHivesMatter.

Curious Sound Objects - A community art show in Cambridge, MA that provided the creative prompt which kicked off this year long research project into Electro-Luminescient materials.

Technological Development through art, not war.

Colleagues: We would like to thank LumiLor and ILuminate, two other organizations who are actively engaged in exploring the potential of Electroluminecient materials for meeting with us and letting us use their footage.

Hacker-Spaces: This project owes a great debt to the presence of open community spaces which provided access to electronics test benches and expertise. Free of charge.

In particular, we would like to acknowledge Miters and Noisebridge.

Team: Atoms - Akivo Vekhter - 35 years ago in Moldova in the USSR, Akivo designed and built oscilloscopes from scratch in his free time because he couldn't get the devices he wanted in a store. Since then, he emigrated to the US, and has spent the past 25 years designing and manufacturing high precision sensors for NASA space suits, aircraft landing gears, and everything in between.

Bits - Josh Vekhter - For almost a decade, Josh has been exploring ways in which interactive visualizations can be used to expand our collective understanding of the world, in fields ranging from math to journalism, from 3d printing to (now) wearable technology. One exploration that has made it's way onto the internet is http://foolzone.com/lets-get-lost/.

Representation - Nicole Hogarty - Artist in Residence

Contributors: Many others enriched this project with their energy and presence through the course of it's development. 

In particular, we'd like to thank friends for their (chronological) contributions, specifically: Xenia/Gila - Loom, Josh Gordonson - early excitement, Manuel Schwab - Berlin, Rachel Milito - exploration, Sam Pelts - a car and a jellyfish, Megan Baker - housing, Peter Fedek - VR, Emma Kanter - filming and editing, Esther Shang - polish and direction, Zanzie Addington-White - post production.

Background track, Every Bone - Big History. 

We'd also like to thank Dan, Mom, and Grandma for all the support.

Press Kit

If you are a member of the press and need more resources, please contact us at fool@topazanodizing.com

Images & Video Downloads

Please feel free to share any of our Kickstarter page materials on social media.

Risks and challenges

We have been developing the Whoa Board for more than a year, and have produced 5 full design iterations - our last run consisted of 17 boards which we have delivered to alpha testers around the world.

As a team, we have decades of experience shipping complex hardware and software projects, and we are confident that the core LumiSense technology will provide a solid platform for discovering all sorts of new interactions.

However, there are several challenges that we must still tackle in order to ship this board:

Component Sourcing: The Whoa board makes use of several somewhat unconventional hardware components. We will be able to ship the first 1000 units quickly using existing stocks, but beyond that, there will be a several month lead time to obtain certain components.

Quality Control: Good QC is a major focus of ours. We plan to hand test the the initial production run in order to arrive at a streamlined testing procedure which we will then implement at a factory for any additional runs that occur.

We are running this kickstarter to get the Whoa board out into the world and to rally a creative community interested in exploring a totally new frontier of wearable technology. Pledge to join us!

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Dreamscapes Zine

    Receive a digital zine illustrating potential applications of interactive and wearable light submitted by artists from around the world (distributed with all rewards). Submit your own!

    Access our updates and be an early member of our community.

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    19 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Slow Honey, not Fast Fashion

    Buy a jar of exotic honey instead of a t-shirt, help support habitat preservation in the developing world by increasing the market value of preserved land.

    Give ecosystems a chance to process climate change.

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    Ships to Only United States
    8 backers
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  3. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $49 or more About $49

    First Edition Whoa

    Be one of the first to receive a board to start experimenting. Includes a Whoa Board, a power/programming cable, a piece of EL, and a set of connectors to attach to other EL elements.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 50 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Just Whoa

    Receive a Whoa Board, a power/programming cable, a piece of EL, and a set of connectors to attach to other EL elements.

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    Limited 97 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    Gotta Try 'em All Whoa

    Receive a Whoa Board, a power/programming cable, an external battery pack, four pieces of EL wire of different thicknesses, an EL panel, and a larger set of connectors to attach to other EL elements.

    A great way to get started on a design project.

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    Limited 94 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    Whoa X Whoa

    Recieve one Just Whoa aaaaand another Just Whoa. 2 Whoa Boards, 1 + 1 power/programming cables, 2 pieces of EL, and |-2| sets of connectors to attach to other EL elements.

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    Limited 17 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    A Choreographed Whoa ^ 5

    Create a dance piece, a fashion show, a larger installation. Evolve an idea.

    5 Just Whoas at early bird pricing! (5 Whoa Boards, 4 + 1 Programming Cables, 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 pieces of EL wire, 2 + 2 + 2 sets of connectors ... sometimes we have trouble counting)!

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Und Kleine Couture Whoa

    Work with one of our artists in residence to design a custom EL project that is made out of sustainably sourced fabric that is either upcycled, or supplied by the Tripty Project.

    Incorporate up to 12 feet of EL wire in a garment.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    A Couture Whoa

    Work with one of our artists in residence to design a custom EL project that is made out of sustainably sourced fabric that is either upcycled, or supplied by the Tripty Project.

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Funding period

- (34 days)