Starting the packaging

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Sorry about that. A lot has been completed. In some sense much of the last month has been spent on bundling up the project for deployment. I’ve built some prototype wearable enclosures and Leo has been helping with scoping out how the vest are going to be assembled. We played around with a few configurations last night and the consensus was that it’s going to be really cool. It should be pretty hard to mess this up now.

I’ve been cleaning up the code quite a bit over the last few weeks. Documentation, robustness, organization, performance, etc. There’s still a lot to do but the framework is now in place to be able to evolve much more quickly. Pattern design can now take a front seat.


  • Upper right shows a count of the currently active members in the network. The idea is to click on that triangle and show a detailed list of who’s in the group. I decided to remove the details from the main screen for artistic reasons.
  • The center flash button is what I think will be the main interactive command. This causes all strands to do a strobe like effect. I think this will work well with music.
  • The circles around the flash button are representations of the members. The size and position of the circle is controlled by the radio signal strength. It works quite well to move the radio away from the controller and watch the circle shrink smoothly. Also, these are animated, orbiting the flash button at a speed depending on their closeness. Like.
  • The layout for the rest of the buttons is free form. I’ve refactored the code to be a bit more flexible and it’s just a matter of designing patterns and implementing the details.
  • Sliders are a bit enhanced to make it easier to select. On the phone these were really small and difficult to control

I need to upload some video of the interface in action. Also the effect on the fur that Leo found is really nice. It’s almost like you don’t need too many patterns!

The issues with deploying a .ipa file to the iPhone have been cleared up and it’s now pretty routine to deploy new versions. The hardware interface with the phone is done (wired up) and is ready for packaging into a mint tin with the iPhone extension cable.
I’ve decided to move away from a custom board for the member circuitry. I started working through a mockup in Eagle and got most of the way there but had assembly nightmares (with good reason). One thing I learned was that you need to take level shifting into account when working with the XBees. Something that I’ve not dealt with. There’s some controversy out there as to what to do but I decided to be safe. Of course sparkfun has a board for this that interfaces perfectly with their Arduino Pro board. I have one sitting next to me right now powered by a LiPo battery and it represents one of the members in the above screen shot. And, this is the craziest part, it fits perfectly into an Altoids mint tin. Like. Need to work on finishing the mounting in the tin. More importantly though is scoping out the battery size and to determine if the people wearing these will need to carry spares.
Next on the plan is to work on the alternate views for the iPhone and to complete the Arduino Pro packaging.

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