We work with the LilyPad open-source wearables system and the XBee radios a lot at ITP, so Kate Hartman and I decided that it was time to put the two together. My Friday 7 in 7 project was to create a XBee LilyPad board, the first draft of which is pictured above. There’s probably going to be a second draft before we have the printed circuit boards made, adding some decoupling capacitors and possibly a few output LEDs. I’d like to keep things pretty bare bones and just see how people might use them before adding complexity like sensors or independent power. We’re planning to run some tests on the prototypes to evaluate wearability and integration methods. The XBee can transmit information from an Arduino module, but also has some ability to function independently. There’s eight pins of input and output, including analog transmissions, that can be used without a microcontroller. Therefore it makes sense to think about another iteration with integrated battery power.
When the board files are done, they’ll be posted publicly on my site (under Projects) and can be used by anyone under a Creative Commons open-source license. A couple of my Sociable Objects students working on socially shape-shifting skirts. Hopefully the new XBee LilyPad will enable their creations.