Sew the Code #1

Sometime ago I had put up a video about sewable DIY on instagram. This blog shall help you recreate that project using an Arduino and enable you to make your changes to it as well.

Arduinos are micro-controller platform boards that work off of package and are programmable with an Arduino IDE over USB. These tiny platforms help you realize any wearable or IoT project. Now, if you wanted some one to do these projects with, I am right here. May be now is a good time to give it a try ? 🙂

Project 01 : 

I am starting off with a basic programmable sewable project. This shall only need a micro-controller called Arduino Gemma, few RGB or NeoPixels  (smart program controlled LEDs), a battery to power up our circuit and a conductive thread to stitch our electronic circuit together on our wearable. This shall not have any connectivity to our smart phone such as Bluetooth or WiFi.  Because ? Basics First ! 🙂

Note : You could “wash” your wearable circuitry but with the battery removed.



  1. Instructions to install Arduino Desktop IDE are available on this pageSelect your system type – Windows , MAC etc and get started or you could use the online IDE.
  2. Install the driver for Windows (MAC and Linux users don’t need to do this). Use the instructions under “Windows Driver Installation” on this reference page
  3. To be able to program a Gemma chip using the Arduino IDE we will need a plugin. Instructions to add this plugin are documented here .

Hardware Shopping

[1] The Arduino Chip :

If you just want to add glow circuitry to your clothes, a chain or a headband or any wearable – all you need is an Arduino Gemma chip . However, if you wish the glow patterns to be controlled via Bluetooth using your smart phone or computer you would need a Arduino Flora Bluefruit LE . 

The entire sensor kit contains Gemma along with four sewable bright RGB pixels, a motion sensor, a switch, a light sensor, a piezo, a rechargeable battery and charger, 2-ply conductive thread, alligator clips to help you test out your circuit, and a USB cable for programming GEMMA. 

Gemma : $9.95

Flora : $17.50 (has bluetooth – buy this if possible)

I have purchased the entire sensor kit : here for $44.95

[2] NeoPixels 

These are smarted LEDs that can be controlled via program.

We will need to get some libraries in place, to start controlling NeoPixels via the Arduino micro-controller through our program .

A pack of 4 Flora RGB Smart NeoPixel version 2 is available for $7.95

[3] Alligator Clips

To test out circuit before we sew, it’s a good idea to have a set of alligator clips (price $3.95)

[4] Conductive Thread and Battery 

Stainless Thin Conductive Thread $5.95

Lithium Ion Polymer Battery 3.7v 150mAh $5.95

[5] Needle $1.95

That’s pretty much for this blog. Do get these things in place so that we can start designing and implementing our little DIY.

In the next blog I plan to cover the details of the pins on the micro-controller and the NeoPixels and how they can be connected and programmed. So, you effectively have two weeks, before we start implementing the sewable project. 🙂

The Arduino programming language reference will be a useful guide to go through before we begin the coding exercise in three weeks. Planning is always a good idea. I am trying to give heads up on what to look forward to and keep you prepared.

Happy shopping for now! That’s all for today. In case you guys have any problem with any of the steps above, write to me at <>.


Project IoT

One of the industry buzzwords is of course the “Internet of Things”or IoT, essentially an all-connected eco-system. The last decade witnessed the evolution of the communication system, from a plain old telephone system to mobile devices with Internet on the go that has revolutionized the way people connect; this decade is going to be about people as well as connecting every “thing” around them and about data, data and more data !!

With this project,  the basic plan is to explore what it means to be an all-connected eco-system, through a series of Arduino based DIY projects that shall enable us to get and use data from and also control “things” around us. Let’s talk to everything !

Disclaimer : This work is not sponsored by Arduino. I am doing this out of my personal interest in sharing simple DIY projects that you could use or your kids could try. Promise you it will be easy ! 😉 

 Skills and Cost

  1. Basic familiarity with programming and of course LOVE for the same ;).  I will post the most basic links to learn the skills on the way, so you don’t have to stress.
  2. You will need Arduino , some sensors , some other basic hardware – hopefully budget friendly – will post the cost as well as links to order them.
  3. If the circuitry is to be controlled using a mobile phone, I will be using an Android phone to send or receive commands to the circuits we build/design using a Bluetooth interface. Note : You could use a cheaper board that supports Android OS (such as Qualcomm 410c , again not sponsored, just letting you know of a cheaper alternative out there :)).
  4. Don’t forget lots of enthusiasm ! Hop on now , let’s do this !!

I am going to try my best to post one entry a week for this project – so hopefully won’t be too hard on you guys to keep catching up. Comment below and let me know if you are excited about this ! 🙂