Electronics shrink. Power requirements lessen. Capabilities compound. Processing speeds skyrocket. Interfacing options multiply. Today’s microcontrollers and microsized computers greatly surpass those of even just a year ago, making almost any project feasible. And some of the hottest projects right now come from the world of wearables.
What is a wearable, exactly? Some call the space “wearable electronics,” others “wearable computing.” We see it as something far broader than that. Wearable technology can be advanced electronic sensors and displays combined with everyday apparel, like Io Flament’s brainwave-sensing beanie (see page 60) and Jonathan Cook’s Open-Source Smartwatch (page 54), but it also includes the futuristic under-the-skin projects of a few daring body augmenters (page 53), as well as the mechanical technology in Keahi Seymour’s Bionic Boots (page 44).
In this issue of Make: we guide you through these examples and more. But first we’ll explain all the latest trends in electronics prototyping boards — including advanced wireless communication protocols — and which boards to keep an eye on. All of them smaller and more powerful than ever. Plus, build a Shishi Odoshi fountain to scare away animals from your garden, make two(!) R/C airplanes that are great for beginning pilots, capture stunning close-up photos with a microscope and a smartphone, and install a climbing wall in your backyard that doubles as a play structure.
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