Introducing the Adafruit Flora Wearable Development Kit, provided to us by Newark Element14 for review and giveaway! This kit will allow you to integrate the electronics you are programming into clothing, bags, accessories and more.
I tested the kit by making my own wearable electronic project: an illuminated clutch! You can follow along to find out how you would make a similar item yourself. For now, back to the set!
What’s in the set?
In this $160 Adafruit Flora Wearables Dev Kit, you’ll get Flora, various sensors, some NeoPixels and LEDs, and lots of tools you’ll need to get started with wearable electronics projects.
Here is the complete set of Newark’s Flora development tools.
Adafruit Flora (Version 1 in this kit) is a round, sewable, Arduino-compatible microcontroller that is the center of the entire system. It is designed so that all components are leaning against the board wherever possible so that it does not snag on the fabric.
You can program it via the mini USB port, which offers 3.3 volts of adjustable power. It has a reset button and a switch that works when powered by battery.
Neopixels and sensors
The Newark Flora Developer Kit includes eight Flora RGB neo-pixels, individually addressable RGB LEDs that are really easy to work with. There are also four sensors that you can use to collect location, time, light, color, motion, and direction data.
- Wearable GPS-module Flora. This allows you to track the location of the project and keep it in sync with local time.
- TSL2561 Flora lux sensor: it detects the light level.
- LSM303 Flora Accelerometer / Compass Sensor: It detects movement and direction.
- TCS34725 Flora Color Sensor: This also detects the color of the object you have touched.
Supplies for sewing and wearable projects
Of course, you will find several items for attaching your electronics to the fabric.
- Fine and medium stainless steel conductive filament
- Needle set
- Magnetic pin back
- Woven Conductive Fabric
Finally, there are plenty of basic electronic components to complete the set.
- Three AAA battery compartment
- 12 Alligator Clamps
- USB cable
- Four AAA alkaline batteries
- Two PN2222 transistors
- Two 5mm IR LEDs
- Two 100 ohm resistors
- Tactile switch
- JST-PH battery extension cable
You can find many projects and tutorials at the Adafruit Learning Center. Becky Stern and Tyler Cooper of Adafruit have also published the book Make: Getting Started with Adafruit Flora which can be found on Amazon.com for $15.
Test Project: Chameleon Clutch Wallet
In order to test this Flora development kit, I decided to make a backlit clutch. The lights can change color to match the accessories you are wearing or the objects around you. The light is also programmed to get brighter in a dark room.
Building the Clutch and Adding Electronics
I crocheted Drew Emborski’s Berry Sweet Clutch pattern and made a few changes. I added a midnight blue frame, a strap, and attached five fabric-friendly NeoPixels to the patch. Obviously, if you want to make a project like this, you don’t need to knit a wallet! You can sew a tote, knit a scarf, or use whatever textile craft skills you have — or simply upgrade something already in your wardrobe.