Make: Projects

Android-Controlled LED Light Shirt

This LED Light Shirt was designed by Michael Kane (me), and is controlled by an Android App also written by me. Worn to an 2011 Ann Arbor Halloween party, and if you're lucky you might see me biking around town wearing it!

  • By
  • Time Required: 12 hours
  • Difficulty: Difficult
Android-Controlled LED Light Shirt

Write an Android app to control an LED light shirt. The app communicates to an ATmega128 via a BlueSMiRF Bluetooth transceiver. The microcontroller outputs data on the SPI to daisy-chained shift-register-controlled constant-current regulators driving RGB LEDs.


Step #1:

Android-Controlled LED Light Shirt

Solder LED Pixels in a daisy-chain, making sure wires are correctly ordered.

Step #2:

Android-Controlled LED Light Shirt
  • Create micro-controller interface board and write embedded frame buffer code similar to code supplied by Bliptronics here:
  • Multiple battery inputs (top right connectors) to extend battery life
  • Multiple power outputs (top left connectors) to reduce line losses along LED daisy-chain
  • High current rated LDO Linear Regulator (and heat sink)
  • BlueSMiRF Silver for Android connectivity
  • Single data output (far left connector)
  • Data lines to micro-controller board (i.e. Arduino) [Blue wires] for SPI and UART lines
  • Hard reset button

Step #3:

Android-Controlled LED Light Shirt

Step #4:

Android-Controlled LED Light ShirtAndroid-Controlled LED Light ShirtAndroid-Controlled LED Light Shirt

Sew LEDs into garment.

Step #6:

Android-Controlled LED Light Shirt

Just a word of caution that I was never able to get the BlueSmirf to consistently send data to the Android, only from the Android to the BlueSmirf. I forget, but you may also need to change the BUAD rate of the BlueSmirf which you can read how to due in the RN-42 AT Command Set.


Be sure to check out the video demo here:


  • Michael Kane

    Thanks for being patient. I’ve finally posted it over at GitHub, and hope to add more details to the hardware documentation here at Make Projects. Let the sharing begin!

    Both the Android app source (Java) and the embedded (C) code meant for an AVR micro-controller is posted at GitHub []

    I can’t wait to see what everyone here does to make all of our cool looking LED Shirts better.

  • Michael Butler

    Hi Michael (Good name by the way),

    So I’m looking at adapting the arduino coding and app you used in this project to a similar one I’m working on. I might use some of your coding as a guide but was wondering if you could suggest anything that could help me overcome what will be my learning curve, I’ve done a lot of hardware so far but not much software. Just any resources in general would be appreciated. Also were there any major obstacles you faced while working on this project, the main difference with mine is I’m going to be using the 10mm RGD LED light strips rather than the individual LEDs like you did. Thanks!

  • Kapil

    Hi Michael,
    I am working on a project in which android device will control light in a room through wi-fi connection with sensor device.Please guide me on this.