Touch-Sensitive Hoodie Lights Up, Plays Tunes

Leah Buechley Kanjun Qiu* designed this hoodie at the MIT Media Lab using a LilyPad Arduino, power supply, LEDs, tiny speaker and iron conductive fabric.*
I've looked at a ton of light up garments, El Wire, etc. This is one of the most tastefully- and artfully-done articles of clothing I've seen as of late. Instead of hiding the electronics, the graphic on the back integrates, even highlights the main board. Really well done, imho. The how-to up on Instructables is thorough and straightforward. Considering a handmade touch-sensitive hoodie can fetch $6 300 (not kidding!), you really should try going for it on your own. *Update: Kanjun Qiu (who appears in the demo video) actually designed and built the hoodie while she was an undergrad researcher in Leah Buechley's lab. *Here's a good assessment of various types of conductive thread.
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7 Responses to Touch-Sensitive Hoodie Lights Up, Plays Tunes

  1. Steven Leckart says:

    Zan: Part of what made that particular hoodie appear nefarious (to them, I’m guessing) was the use of a 9-volt battery and “putty” that dangled on the outside of the garment. This sweatshirt is much more subtle and “fashionable” (imho).

  2. mesrop says:

    I remember that girl that made the hoodie with the lights and stuff and was at an airport and a cop almost shot her in the face. It was at the peak of the Bush era everyone is a terrorist days. and I remember some one actually called it an IED (improvised electronic device) to drum up more fear and connect her to the war on terror. So I hope those days are over and this project does make it main stream.

  3. TJ S says:

    To be more accurate, it’s $600 for a pair of the hoodies, so only $300 each.

    Still unreasonable, but not so stratospheric.

  4. Steven Leckart says:

    TJ S: Ah, you’re right. Fixed.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Holy mother of god, why? This is about as cool or useful as the Billy Bass.

  6. David Carroll says:

    That is very clever!

    Hmm.. I wonder how many low-fi drum/cymbal samples you could stuff into a ATmega328V? At least four? Add a little amp and a speaker and you have a wearable digital beat-box! Now what did I do with my Decimillia bread-board?

  7. Zan says:

    Hopefully this has the same feature as the last light-up hoodie to come out of MIT: getting you almost shot at Logan Airport. Covered on Boingboing at

    The head of airport police said after the incident:

    She’s extremely lucky she followed the instructions or deadly force would have been used,” Pare told The Associated Press. “And she’s lucky to be in a cell as opposed to the morgue.”

    That’s right, our officials think it is perfectly okay to kill college students who wear electronic clothing if they happen to be deaf or distracted.

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