Feb 232015

This blog post was written by, and highlights the Fall 2014 final project of, EMAC undergraduate student Justin Ozuna. Follow him on Twitter @TheOzunaVerse. The assignment for which he made the project can be found here.

Pet ownership is a way of life in the United States. According to humanesociety.org, more than 80 million dogs are pets in U.S. households. Eighty million! For perspective, there are an estimated 316 million people living in the United States. Nearly 47 percent of households own at least one dog, and the upward trend doesn’t show any signs of decline in the near future. In fact, pet ownership has nearly tripled since the 1970s.

Where there are numbers, there is a thriving industry. Americans will spend $58 billion on all pets combined this year. Walk into any store and there’s likely to be an aisle (or two) of pet food, snacks, toys and accessories. What you won’t be able to buy in the store, however, is time. After a long day of work and a full schedule of evening activities, Fido is ready for a long walk. The problem is that there’s not always time to take your pet for a stroll in the neighborhood before the sun goes down and the stars fill the sky. Walking your pet at night means you’re at the mercy of overcautious drivers and hyper-focused neighbors to stay safe.

Continue reading »

Dec 082014
Ariana Berdy's circuits project. A felt strawberry cake

Photo by Ariana Berdy

As a busy college student I often forget or don’t have time to eat. Often times I have observed that society in general gets so wrapped up in the things that they are doing or need to get done that they place a minimal importance on eating. This food-comes-second lifestyle is unhealthy. Making a habit of skipping meals can lead to negative consequences such as physical fatigue; mental exhaustion; and , when you finally do eat, overeating and calorie loading (Skipping meals can have negative consequences).

In response to the “food comes second” way of life I have created a project that directly deals with a person’s relationship to their meals. My project idea is to create a “health bar” or “fuel indicator” for a person to wear. This indicator acts as a timer. The timer measures the time from their last meal or snack and counts down to when the wearer’s next meal should be. The health bar then visually represents the drain of energy as time passes between meals. Continue reading »

Dec 072014



The “Cardiac Rehab Patient Monitoring Jacket” is a jacket that is intended to help cardiac rehab nurses monitor patients. After a cardiac surgery, such as a bypass or a cardiac cath, most patients are required to participate in some form of cardiac rehabilitation. Often times this requires the patient to participate in monitored rehab therapy in a hospital gym. After a heart procedure it is very important that the patient monitor their heart rate to ensure that they do not exceed the threshold set by their physician. During the monitored gym exercise it is not uncommon to see a number of patients exercising at the same time, therefore requiring one cardiac rehab nurse to monitor multiple patients. Typically the patients are connected to heart rate monitors that are watched by employees on a screen at the nursing station, and an audible alarm is set to each patient. The difficulty with this is that there is potential for the alarm to go unnoticed if the noise level in the gym is high due to multiple patients using the equipment. Imagine monitoring a video screen with twenty treadmills running simultaneously, and having to listen for an audible alarm while dealing with a patient at the desk. There is a potential for a patient’s overexertion to go unnoticed. Even the patient may overlook that they have exceeded their threshold. It is not difficult to imagine a patient who does not realize that they are above their target heart rate simply because they were used to working out at a much higher level before they had their procedure. The “Cardiac Rehab Patient Monitoring Jacket” is a means to supplement the monitoring processes already set in place, and provide additional levels of safety to monitored cardiac rehab exercise.

Patient_Monitoring_JacketThe jacket allows that each user can have their heart rate threshold programmed into the jacket based on their physician’s recommendation. A 50 year old patient, who was an avid runner pre-procedure, who had a single cardiac cath inserted will likely have a higher threshold than a 65 year old patient who had triple bypass and lived a largely sedentary lifestyle. The limits would be set according to the patient’s perceived fitness level, and their physician’s suggested limits of physical activity. The patient will wear a wireless chest-strap heart rate monitor which is interfaced with the jacket. Once the heart rate limit is exceeded the 64 LED matrix will light up to signal that the patient needs to slow down and lower their heart rate. This not only allows for the cardiac rehab employee to monitor the patient, but will also signal the patient and other patients to the situation. If the employee was distracted by another patient, or failed to hear the audible alarm, then hopefully the patient would be made aware of their overexertion, or perhaps another patient who is in the gym.

The jacket is powered by two battery packs that use 4 AA batteries, and have on and off switches. The heart rate monitor Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 1.35.30 PMinterface (HRMI) is connected to an Arduino Uno, and the Arduino is connected to the Adafruit NeoPixel NeoMatrix 8×8. The program that runs the system allows that the heart rate threshold can be changed in the first few lines of the code to fit the designated parameters of each individual patient. The pixel matrix is activated once the heart rate threshold is exceeded, and will automatically turn off once the heart rate returns to normal. Taking into consideration that most cardiac patients are older, the simplicity of the jacket is a key factor in the success of its implementation. The cardiac rehab employee will program each Arduino based on consultation with the patient’s cardiologist, and each jacket will be assigned to one patient. As the patient recovers, the values of the threshold can be changed according to their physician’s recommendations. This will also allow that the patient has a simple means of self evaluation. A patient who is unfamiliar with using heart rate monitors can be easily taught that if their jacket lights up, they need to back off on their workout. This will help the patient in understanding their personal limits, and provide a simple means of monitoring how their fitness level was affected by their procedure.

The use of wearable technology in healthcare is not a new idea, and there are many products that incorporate vital signs in their features, but for these products to truly be effective, they must be simple enough for a patient with no clinical or technological background to use and understand. Bradley Quinn provides multiple examples of diagnostic textiles that are being used in healthcare, and notes the importance of wireless garments that monitor the patients “in a range of everyday situations” (Quinn, 2010). Quinn acknowledges garments such as the Heart Sensing Sports Bra, the Heart Sensing Racer Tank, and the Cardio Shirt for Men, but the impressive capabilities of these garments can also be considered a hindrance. These products often require additional software applications, and are designed for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. In some cases their technological capabilities can be a deterrent to users who are not tech savvy. It can be intimidating for a user to not only be required to monitor their vital signs, but to also have to learn new technology. Products like the Adidas micoach provide a variety of functions that could serve the same purposes as this project, but in the case of many patients, the additional time required to learn to use the product (and the added cost) would be one more stress factor that could be avoided with a more simple product that is focused on one key function. These products are also designed to provide the user with information that is used for fitness tracking and monitoring with no way to alert others that the user is in trouble. The simplicity of this project could be seen as a benefit to the patient and anyone in the general vicinity of the patient. Future versions of the project could include features that would allow for the jacket to be used outside of a hospital setting. Because the entire project operates independently of any hospital equipment, the patient could also use it during their daily exercise routine. After the patient has completed their required rehab schedule they could benefit from the reassurance that they could continue using the device. If an additional alarm was included in the project, it could be used as a means of alerting someone who is unfamiliar with the project that something is wrong. For example, a patient who has recently completed her monitored exercises takes daily walks in her neighborhood. During one particularly hot day, she begins to feel fatigued and exceeds her preset threshold. The device is activated, and the LED matrix lights up and an alarm sounds. This could alert anyone passing by that the woman is in need of help. Whether the person passing by is familiar with the product or not, it would be clear that something was wrong, and it would be likely that they would notice the alarm and lights, and hopefully this would prompt the good samaritan to investigate. Complexity does not always equate to increased functionality, and it is likely that there is a large population who would welcome a product that provides a simple (but potentially life-saving) service.



Quinn, Bradley. “Vital Signs.” Textile Futures: Fashion, Design and Technology. Oxford: Berg, 2010. 85-107.

May 082014

In my first proposal, I was so sure that my project was going to start some type of movement. I was overly ambitious and I could truly say that this project has humbled me with the understanding that Rome was not built in a day.

With my project, I hope to bring more awareness to emotional abuse. One of the challenges of identifying emotional abuse is that there is no physical evidence. When I first started planning my project, my focus was on how to empower the victim of emotional abuse. I thought that having something that can identify emotional abuse would be helpful to the victim.

My first thought was to create a cuff that would light LEDs in response to certain words that an emotional abuser would normally use to abuse the victim. That would have included coding that was beyond my understanding, so I had to simplify. This did began a path on deciding on what would be my sensor. I had worked before with LEDs in a previous project so I felt comfortable with using them as my actuators. Now, I must inform you that I had never use coding or didn’t even have clue what an audruino lily pad was before I took this class. So of course my anxiety level was at the max. I did however felt a little confident in making the product because I have sewing experience.  But it only took me so far.

I know I wanted to play with audio because emotional abuse is verbal so I had to figure out how I was going to get information from a sensor to the LEDs. That’s when the USB lily pad came into effect. We had already played with it in class so I felt a little at ease, and it was on less thing to order. So the supply list was due, and for some reason I thought the LEDs that came with our kit was suffice. By this time I still did not decide on what would be my sensor. I found an audruino recorder online but I still did not know what route I wanted to take this project. After a discussion with professor Knight, I committed to a theme for my project. Within this discussion, I also was able to identify my sensor. Fortunately, a student from a previous class allowed me to see what she had used for a similar project that involved audio. We used a recorder that also measure sound levels and with this I was then able to output through the Lily pad to the LEDs. Perfect right?

I decided to use my project for media art. I was going to construct a mask that would light up to a video of an abuser verbally abusing a victim. I wanted to show a visual effect in spite of the lack of evidence to promote awareness. Now a mask would involve contours of the face so the conductive thread seem ideal for one of my tools in putting all of this together. While  my recorder was being shipped to me, I was brainstorming on how to design the pattern of  the LEDs that will be sewn on the mask. I only knew about serial patterns due to a previous project. I’ll tell you later about this challenge.  The recorder came in the mail and I was so excited to start playing with it.  Now how will this be possible without sewing everything on the final product, the handy dandy gator clips. They saved my life. I was able to connect everything and practice coding without making a permanent mistake.

Okay next challenge, the recorder was too small to keep the gators on so it was causing a short. This resulted in a crash course in soldering. I learned to solder jumpers to my recorder and then I was able to connect to the lily pad and LEDs by using connecting wires which come into play later in another challenge. Okay so I’m back in business.

Coding. What can I say about this subject? Please read everything that professor Knight suggests. I had to crammed pages and pages of literature while I was coding. I mean that’s how I learn ( hands on) but it would had been helpful to have read everything while we had our workshops. I can’t stressed that enough especially if you are new to any of this. I learned my lesson. Fortunately, after reading everything, I was able to figure out that the code that came with the recorder was something I can build on. One thing I encountered was that I would  have my GND, VVC, and SPL not connected to the right output, so if you see that something is not working(flashing) correctly double check the wiring. Once this was pointed out I was able to connect. Another problem I encountered was that my board was not selected correctly in audruino so if there is something funny showing up in your serial monitor double check the bottom of the audruino sketch pad. This was also pointed out to me by the same student assistant. God Bless him.

With the help of his guidance, I was able to get the coding in a day, but then something else happened. Remember I pointed out that I only knew about serial patterns, well I learned about parallel first hand. My LEDs’ charge was not strong enough to carry through in serial so I had to go parallel. So how was this going to be a possible pattern and on a mask?  I made a decision to only make my neck band that was going to housed all the equipment my only tech functional piece.  Now it’s time to construct.

I learned to strip my wires because I used jumper wires to connect my recorder to my lily pad. This is where the wires come in. There was no way I would be able to connect all my LEDs to one GND. I resorted to radio shack again and invested in a stripper and a LED strip. The best investment was the stripper. My whole aesthetic change to accommodate the design. I decided to “wear the Guts out”. I incorporated the equipment to the design. My wiring draped like chiffon!  I used tacking to keep the wires in place.  The end results was awesome. I was able to connect at least three LEDs to my GND by using the wires I stripped. Since I decided to use the equipment as part of the design I was able to keep everything in range and the neck band wearable. I kept my design somewhat the same and I now like the new aesthetic. My coding works and its wearable and I can return the $30 LED strip to Radio Shack.

This was a challenging journey. This experience was awakening and I have  a new profound respect for e-textiles. I learned a lot through trial and error and my product is functional. I hope that it does do what I intended it to do, overall the journey was worth it. Hopefully this will help with giving a visual effect to emotional abuse.


May 082014
Stop Telling Women to Smile by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.

Stop Telling Women to Smile is the public art project addressing gender based street harassment by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.


When saying, “I’m not interested,” is no longer a clear enough signal to leave someone alone. 

In our modern society, it is increasingly difficult for many people to communicate in a direct manner without experiencing apprehension or anxiety. These people may not feel comfortable with social interaction, which may cause them issues with being direct or upfront towards others.  This awkwardness can sometimes lead to uncomfortablethreatening,  or even violent situations. For many people, technology can function as a “screen” that allows them to opt out of real-life, face-to-face interactions. When communicating online, users can set statuses on instant messaging systems (“Do Not Disturb”, “Available”, “Away”) to indicate their availability or willingness to chat.  But what happens to them when they do not have a screen to hide behind and they need help communicating their status to others? If there was an easy passive way for people to clearly communicate their receptiveness to outside interaction, it could potentially prevent miscommunication, confrontational situations, and unwanted advances.  Enter the Instant Status Band. Continue reading »

May 082014

I have always have a fascination with the “space world”. Being a fashion student, I could only dream to be so  avant garde like Jean Paul Gautier in  his creations for the Fifth element. While working with LEDs this semester, I thought to myself wouldn’t it be cool to have tiny LEDs at the tip of your eyelashes.  It would be something you will see in a Sci-Fi movie. So I goggled to see if such a product exist. I came across Soomi Park’s video. Here, Park uses LED’s to emphasize on the size of the eye.  What was so cool about the technology part of the lashes is that they came with sensors. You can turn the lashes on and off by tilting your head. The video itself is kind of “spacey”. I didn’t even know that this existed.  I think the whole concept is cool but they are a little too bulky for me. They also come with added materials that are attached to your ear which maybe the sensors.  I could see this taking off for a while especially within the Music Video world.

monster LED

LED pojken



I came across another LED eyelash project pojken. This project was use for costuming.  Here the artist uses smaller LEDs. (SMDs). These were made to wear on the top of the eyelid. She also used soldering to help keep them together.   This started a journey for me  to see if what I wanted existed. I found a whole  eyelash design world. There are many different designs to artistically express yourself. I discovered that there are UV eyelashes in market now.

UV Eyelashes

UV eyelashes




I would like to design or help to find LEDs small enough to put at the tip of eyelashes to where they would appear to be little drops of color liquid at the end of the eyelash. Technically I don’t think a LED exist that can be so small and then would the LEDs be on all the time. Is there a light sensor small enough to communicate to the LEDs when to shut down and when to come on? It would bring your eyes to a whole other level, when it comes to make-up and flirting, don’t you think?


” Make wearable LED eyelashes” by pojken: http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-wearable-LED-eyelashes/

Soomi Park Video: http://www.ecouterre.com/led-eyelashes-designed-to-brighten-enlarge-eyes/led-eyelashes-2/

UV eyelashes: http://www.trendhunter.com/slideshow/funky-eyelash-designs

Apr 222014

My project concept was to create a device that would allow people suffering an anxiety attack to alert people around them of their impending attack.  The device checks a wearer’s pulse and alerts those around the person when the pulse increases.  I know this sounds oddly familiar.  If you’ve ever been on a treadmill you know that there are heart rate monitors that will do this for people working out.  My device isn’t much different than a heart rate device.  The difference is the intent of the device.  My device is meant to address issues in the mental health arena.  I’ve lived with people who had anxiety attacks and there is no way to know the person is suffering unless they tell you.  The idea behind my device is to give the person wearing it and the people around them to understand what is happening.

When I started this project I had anxiety.  I am not adept at sewing or coding.  The first thing I had to decide was what I was going to create the device on.  I decided a cuff or bracelet would work, but I decided to use a sleeve.  You can buy sleeves at REI.  I owned workout sleeves.  They are exactly as they sound they are sleeves without shirts.  They fit by using elastic on the openings to grip the skin of the wearer.  The sleeves cost roughly $25.

Once I got the sleeves it was time for me to layout how I wanted the LilyPad and LED lights would be set.  I bought the Sparkfun stickers.  I laid them on my sleeve to configure everything.

LilyPad stickers laid out on a black sleeve

LilyPad sticker with LED lights planned out

I originally bought gum drop looking LED lights, but they didn’t work for what I was doing.  I did want the person wearing the device to alert those around them that they were having a panic attack, but I didn’t want the sleeve to alert everyone in the room.  The gum drop LED lights were to obvious for my project.  I chose to use the LED lights that came with the Protosnap and the one extra LED light that comes with the LilyPad.


Once I configured my components I was ready to paste my parts down on the sleeve.  I used fabric glue to paste the LilyPad and lights down.  I left them on their for a day before I started working again.  I am not a good or confident seamstress.  I realized I needed to sew a ton of components and was looking to create a project that would have very little sewing.  So I hopped in my trusty car and drove to my local Radio Shack.  The very nice man showed me two different Electrically Conductive Paint pens.  I chose the Bare Paint pen http://www.bareconductive.com/

Bare paint conductive pen in case

Bare paint I used to “sew” my components together

Electric Paint Pen with Conductive Ink is a pen applicator full of conductive paint.You can paint on all different surfaces to create a circuit, although you shouldn’t try it on your skin.  The pen ink will conduct electricity. I also bought because once I painted my original circuit I could paint over the original paint to blend into surfaces or add other elements to the circuit.  This pen saved me so much sewing time, although I am grateful for it I don’t think it was the right thing for me.  At the time of this writing I haven’t hooked up my pulse sensor.  Prior to hooking up the sensor I had to pain my circuit.  The first time I did it I made the lines too thin and they broke off immediately.  The second time I used the pen I put my hand in the sleeve and the lines broke again.  I tried to keep the sleeve on my arm and draw the lines, but once again the lines broke.  Finally, I decided that since my sleeve is a prototype I wasn’t going to put my hand in it and I laid down thick lines between the LilyPad and the LED lights.

In class today my paint snapped so I have to start over.  Also, I figured out that my pulse sensor is made as a plug and play for the Arduino UNO – yikes!  Needless to say today was a setback.  I removed all the paint from the sleeve and my instructor, Kim Knight, gave me wire glue to use.  I think it functions the same as the paint, but it may be more durable on bendable fabrics.  I plan to connect my Red, Purple and Black wire tonight and let them dry overnight.

I let the paint dry overnight and I couldn’t get any of my LEDs to light so I set everything together with Alligator clips.  Now, the LEDs work, the pulse sensor lights up now I just need to get the code right and I will be on my way.  This thing will not be beautiful, but I hope it works.

I finally got the code to work… and guess what?  It worked!  AHHHHHHHHH!  There goes my anxiety, but now if I ever need to check it, I have a my own homemade device 🙂

Image of a sleeve with alligator clips attached tio LilyPad and LEDs and pule sensor

Alligator clips attach my project together

May 042012

For my wearable media object, I chose to create an LEDs-only circuit using the LilyPad Arduino Board. After attending Ettiquette Creative’s LilyPad Arduino Workshop, I had the resources and references to begin my project. I installed the Arduino software, checked the drivers, and referred to a tutorial provided on the SparkFun Electronics site to design my wearable media object.

In order to allow the light display to be the focus of the media object, I sewed the LilyPad Arduino to the inside of the purse. The majority of the stitches are also on the inside of the bag, and the cloth flowers hide the more noticeable threads visible on the outside.

LilyPad Arduino

My goal with this project was to create a media object that could combine both style and technology. The outside of the purse has cloth flowers that camouflage the sewn-in LEDs. When the LilyPad Arduino is activated, the LEDs blink and fade in a random pattern. The soft blinking lights and smooth pattern are meant to tie back to the idea of flowers being delicate and graceful.

While I was working on my project, I wondered if there was a way to make the LEDs respond to the beat in music. I chose the track (in the video) with that in mind. I loved how the lights almost look like they’re dancing to the music. That might be something I’ll look into for a future LilyPad Arduino-related project.