Wearable technologists are familiar with the LilyPad Arduino developed by Leah Buechley.
LilyPad is the first choice when electro-textile designer look for some number crunching application, be it to control light or coordinate sensor inputs and convert them for light or other visual representation.
The only downside with a central processor is – when it goes down the complete system stalls. That’s the moment where LumiNet can show off in bright light.
LumiNet, a development of Jan Borchers and René Bohne at RWTH Aachen University is a network of low-cost intelligent pixels that are connected in an organic fashion: Without a central point of control, each node only knows about its immediate neighbors, allowing for highly parallel, fault-tolerant networks in which information spreads from node to node.
This form of robustness is one of the hot spots in wearable technology as things like connections can easily break and the whole piece of garment falls back into the static world of fashion – no animation, no interaction with the environment and wearer.
The LumiNet modules measuring 1.2″ square and contain an RGB LED, an ATTiny84 and connectors to its neighbors. Sensors attached to the modules add interactivity to the light spot of the module leading to random pattern or colors triggered by light, temperature, sound, …
If one module goes down the rest of the system will keep on working nicely. I also like the term how the programming of a LumiNet system is done: “programming by infection“. The program is feed to one module which then will infect all other modules of the system with that program code – neat.
For more information on this alternative wearable technology click over to LumiNet.