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8. Wearables


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Wearables have evolved beyond traditional clothing and jewelry, becoming a significant part of the tech landscape. They offer a wide range of applications, from health and fitness tracking to augmented reality experiences.

Wearable technology has seen significant advancements in recent years, with innovations like smartwatches, fitness trackers, smart glasses, and even smart clothing. These devices often incorporate sensors, processors, and connectivity features to provide users with valuable information and interactive experiences.


This week in the lab we had the opportunity to explore:

  • Flip dots
  • Soft speakers
  • Thermochromic dyes

Flip Dot


    * Copper coil
    * 2 Alligator cables
    * A small piece of magnet
    * 9 V Battery
    * Lighter

We started this week exploring with flip dot. In order to make I used a copper coil and wrapped around a pen tightly and so many times, leaving both ends of the coil loose.

I then burnt the two loose ends of the coil to remove the coating in order to make it conductive. Then added an alligator cable to each end.

I placed the magnet inside the loop i created earlier and then connected the cables to the battery.

Below you can see how the magnet flips when closing the circuit.

I then decided to do that using a more advanced level which included using Arduino.

I used the ciruint which I made in the lab using copper sheets, a diode, a transistor and a resistor which were soldered on the circuit

I connected all the cables together and to the Arduino board

Then I opened Arduino IDE and from file, examples, under basics I clicked on blink and uploaded it to the Arduino uno board

// the setup function runs once when you press reset or power the board
void setup() {
// initialize digital pin LED_BUILTIN as an output.
pinMode(8, OUTPUT);

// the loop function runs over and over again forever
void loop() {
 digitalWrite(8, HIGH);  // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level)
 delay(10000);                      // wait for a second
 digitalWrite(8, LOW);   // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW
  delay(10000);                      // wait for a second

And here in this video you can see the magnet moving when the code is uploaded to the board

Soft speakers

This was the part that consumed a lot of time. But was also the most interesting part for me. I never knew how I speaker works before this week.

Speakers function by converting the gathered electrical energy into mechanical energy. As the air is compressed by mechanical energy, the motion is converted into sound pressure level (SPL) or sound energy. A magnetic field is generated when an electric current travels through coils of wire. In speaker systems, the electrical current travels through the system’s voice coil, which generates an electric field that is then associated with the magnetic field found within the speaker.

So to create a simple speaker you need: * Copper coil * Alligator cables * Magnet * Battery * Arduino board * Circuit * Conductive material

I Started by designing a spiral loop on Adobe Illustrator

The design was then cut using the laser cutter on a Metal Nylon Fabric sheet, and then taped before removed from the machine so it will be easier to attach it to the fabric.

The laser cutting machine available in the lab is the a Trotec Speedy 400 and that's the one I used for this assignment with the following settings:

Color Process Power Speed PPL/Hz Passes
Red Cut 15 2000 500 1

The laser cut piece was glued to another piece of fabric and then heat pressed to make sure it sticks firmly.

Heating or producing sound takes a lot of energy (or current) which an Arduino pin cannot supply. So we need to incorporate a transistor into the circuit design. The transistor functions as an amplifier, linking to a secondary power source to effectively enhance the current. That's why I made the below circuit

Then all the components were connected together, and to the Arduino board. I used the code bellow on Arduino to produce sound:

#include "pitches.h"

int melody[] = {


// note durations: 4 = quarter note, 8 = eighth note, etc.:
int noteDurations[] = {

  4, 8, 8, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4

void setup() {

  // iterate over the notes of the melody:

  for (int thisNote = 0; thisNote < 8; thisNote++) {

    // to calculate the note duration, take one second divided by the note type.
    //e.g. quarter note = 1000 / 4, eighth note = 1000/8, etc.

    int noteDuration = 4000 / noteDurations[thisNote];
    tone(8, melody[thisNote], noteDuration);
    int pauseBetweenNotes = noteDuration * 1.30;
    noTone(8); // stop the tone playing

void loop() {
  // no need to repeat the melody.

After so many trials and errors, and changing the magnets I used, my speaker was finally able to produce very low sound which sadly I wasn't able to record. But here you can find how the speaker looked

Thermochromic Dyes and Inks

In Techworks in Amman, we have a green colored powder that changes color to white when heat is applied to it.

I started experimenting with it by adding the powder to water and then heating the water in the microwave. The color of the water changed to white after heating it.

Before heat was applied

After heat was applied

I died a piece of cotton fabric with the green die and then applied heat to it by using a copper wire and a power source

Last update: 2023-11-14