Have you ever read Earrings! by Judith Viorst? It's a great book... about a little girl that is desperate to get earrings for pierced ears.
I want them.
I need them.
I love them.
Unlike the parents in the book... we caved when my daughter turned nine years old. Which... set me on an interesting path - ending in a ton of research on e-textiles. Long story.
Here's the short version.
A couple months ago I was watching this great show called "Ask an Engineer" which is hosted by Limor 'Ladyada' Fried, Phillip 'Adabot' Torrone, and Becky 'bekathwia' Stern. They started talking about e-textiles and how the fashion industry is painting a very over-done picture of what e-textiles has to offer. The general consensus was that what we really need is an influx of tasteful components / elements for use in e-textiles... iCufflinks and iNecklace from Adafruit is a perfect example.
So... it got me thinking about creating an inexpensive 'component' that could be used to accessorize, create accessories, or participate as a first-class citizen in an e-textile project. I can't take all the credit - my daughter was my chief creative engineer.
The doBlink is born!
Here is a photo (below) of some of my early prototypes... surface mount components keep doBlink light and small. There are four blue LEDs on a doBlink that blink in just about any pattern you can imagine - controlled by a Microchip PIC 12F1822 microprocessor.
Earrings for the next concert you say - yep. Beautiful blinky earrings for pierced ears!
Chain more than one doBlink together to create a belt, a hat band, bracelet, or bling for your killer-robot. Just supply your doBlink with 3V - and shimmering awesomeness will commence.
How small? ...a little larger than a dime... about the size of a quarter ( 24mm-ish ).
Don't let the size of the battery fool you... with a conservative blink cycle - one CR1025 battery can last for 7 - 10 days ( easy ).
It's even breadboard compatible!
The design includes solder-jumpers to pass power from one doBlink to another. Press the button at the bottom to cycle between blink patterns!
What's the status of the project?
* initial concept - done
* cost / spec parts - done
* rough prototype - done
* small production run - done
* final production run - READY TO GO!
One obstacle remains... it's an economy of scale thing. Producing doBlink in small quantities is relatively expensive. A quantity order will help drive the cost down to a reasonable price-point.
What do you think - are you ready to doBlink?