Jeri’s Motion-Detecting LED Dress

Craft & Design Technology
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I love how Jeri Ellsworth almost always shows up at events with an impressive hack, from the infamous NES Purse, to the “Brain Bulb” she wore at Maker Faire Bay Area, to this glorious geek sartorial, the Barbot LED Dress. She wore this to the BarBot 2011 event at this year’s RoboGames. Underneath the dress is a string of delay chain LEDs triggered by a PIR (Passive Infrared Sensor) motion sensor detecting people around her and flashing patterns in the dress in response. The sensor and circuitry (and power) are housed in the vintage camera case around her neck. So cool.

Looking at this makes me imagine a future world of super-bright celebrity makers at award ceremonies. Instead of “Who made your outfit?,” the question would be “How did you make your outfit?,” and they’d all be as awesome as this. A nerd can dream. Hmm… maybe that should be an aspect of The Makey Awards ceremony which will be happening at World Maker Faire.

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Here, in an earlier element14 video, Jeri explains how to create a simple PIR circuit for motion-triggered applications.


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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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