Have you ever run into a problem that is like the writer’s block of learning? I have been experiencing this feeling lately when it comes to Adafruit Gemma and Flora, two namebrand components that use Adruino open source coding to control LED lights embedded in cloth or clothing. Although I know that all of the components should work together to create a blinking fashion statement, the blink eluded me.
I sewed with conductive thread. I replaced conductive thread with alligator clips. I watched YouTube videos, frame by frame. I downloaded. I uploaded.
My partner-in-crime asked the essential question. “Who do we know that could help us?” We sent out an appeal for knowledge. Did someone we know, know someone who knows what we don’t know?
My point is that, generally, given a whole university campus, someone knows what you want to know. And in this case our query was answered with a delightful person we had no previous knowledge of who knew exactly what we didn’t know.
It would seem Adafruit Gemma and Flora are not so easy to get working with conductive thread and the coding is a bit tough to download onto the microcontrollers. I was having trouble for a very good reason.
Our new contact, from a faculty far, far away, was looking to embed clothing with LED lights, just like we were, but his knowledge led him to create various special components that would make the coding use “Scratch” and he traveled to China to make sure the components were easy to use for makers (yes, I call myself a maker) like me.
What’s my point? Just ask. Ask for the knowledge you need. The world we live in is made very small by social media and email. Ask if someone you know, knows someone who knows what you want to know.
And I’m very excited to continue to pursue this project with new eyes and new technology and a new person to help out. The kits and materials we will be using look like they would function well in the K-12 environment. I’ll let you know what I know when I know it.