In August 2019, I made a pair of BLE connected brooches using two Bluno Beetle boards (see project Mother and Child - DFRobot Bluno Beetle). It was a pair of hand-sewn pouches with components inside, which were soldered together. The prototypes took a form of a pair of flowers that detect distance between the wearers. If a mother and her child wear them, the mother can be notified by an alert when the child is out of proximity. It was inspired by my mom's own story of almost losing me when I was three years old.
I mentioned that perhaps one day I would make this into products, because I would like more people to benefit from the functionalities of beautiful wearable devices. Also, I want to show some creative usage of tech that assist human-human interaction, rather than having tech isolate people. I am very excited that in the past year, I collaborated with DFRobot to make this idea a reality.
The Flower brooches are a pair of customized PCBs connected via Bluetooth. As designed in the prototype, the brooches detect the distance between each other, helping people keep their loved ones by their side.
The programming is open source, and the boards have integrated LEDs, vibration motors and touch sensors. Whether it is between parents and their children, between siblings, between friends or between lovers, you can add programs through the serial port to the brooches for other fun interactions with your loved ones. Each board uses a 3.7 V LiPo battery, and also includes a charging unit through the USB-C port. The code for factory setting is attached. It is currently set to sync the two boards when together, detect a distance of 2 m, beyond which the central board vibrates with the LEDs blinking in warning mode.
The two PCBs only cost $30 together. You can order them from Art by Physicist here. If you live in China, it's also convenient to purchase from DFRobot's Chinese product page.
It wouldn't have been my design at my fashion brand, Art by Physicist, if it doesn't match with a painting of mine. The brooches can be worn as part of the matching Flowers outfit (top, shorts, mask cover), which uses my painting on the fabric, picturing a blue-haired girl in a field of beautiful pink flowers. The shorts also have 3D printed flowers placed on the tulle. One may remember the heart-rate monitoring dress I designed using the same fabrics (see project Flowers - Arduino Nano, CrazyCircuits, DFRobot).
As an effort to bring the open-source mindset into fashion, my designs also offer DIY versions which have the patterns and paintings directly printed onto the fabrics. For the Flowers outfit, one can cut and sew the top and shorts together themselves. Learn about the making process in the video.
Whether it is the BLE brooches, the ready-to-wear outfit or the DIY patterns, I hope this design brings you joy and hope you have fun with your loved ones if you decide the brooches are THE gift to get for this holiday season.