Interactive Apparel: Top 5 Constraints

For my project I will be creating interactive LED apparel. The project will require capacitive touch sensors and LED strips. As the development progress continues, it is important to determine the most significant constraints on the artifact.



Aesthetic constitutes a large constraint for this project. I will be utilizing flat design for my project. This means I am constrained to utilize just the surface of the clothing. Any added dimension would disagree with the ideals of flat design. Additionally, clear gradients are another important aspect of the aesthetic. This means that the LEDs must be programmed to smoothly transition between colors.



Material is another important constraint for this project. Most notably, the materials I use must be bendable, as the final product is intended to be worn. Also, I will need a clear material that can effectively diffuse light to better display the color gradient by covering the LED strips.



Weight is also important for this artifact. It should be comfortable to wear, which means it can’t be too heavy. This means I must maximize the perceived light with limited LEDs. A small microcontroller should also be used (Arduino pro mini)

Power Supply


Power supply will be a significant constraint for this project. Storing a battery must be convenient, which means I will be likely limited to a 9V battery. This will therefore limit the brightness and number of LEDs. Further testing will be required to determine just how many LEDs can be used.

Wire Maintnance


To achieve the desired effect for this artifact, I want to limit the visibility of wires. This can be achieved by hiding the wiring between LEDs under the fabric. Hiding the wires to the capacitive touch sensor on the hand will be a more difficult challenge. This will require various iterations to determine the best solution.


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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Miles Radakovitz
    March 8, 2020 8:34 pm

    this is a really cool project! is there any reason you are going with a microcontroller over using off the shelf LED systems? Also are you just going to be using a predetermined color change, or are you planning on incorporating some sort of haptic system that would allow the colors change based off of the environment?

    • Jackson Hootman
      March 8, 2020 9:28 pm

      Hey Miles! The main reason for using a microcontroller is further customization. Using an off the shelf solution would provide additional constrains for the size and the interface between the electronics and the physical clothes. I’ve also considered making the colors changeable. As of right now, I plan on utilizing a predetermined color pattern and adding custom options if there is extra time.

  • Do you plan on making a little compartment that will house the battery and micro controller? And if so, where do you think would be the best to put it? I am utilizing similar LED’s for my project and I have a pretty good understanding of how the different voltage inputs create different color outputs, so if you have any questions about that let me know!

    • Jackson Hootman
      March 8, 2020 9:38 pm

      Hey Austin! I plan on creating a glove to house the microcontroller (most likely an arduino pro mini). As for the battery, I believe my constraints have changed. I no longer believe a 9V battery will be sufficient to provide the amperage to power a significant number of LEDs. I will most likely use a 5V, 4A power supply.


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