Get ready to file this is in the “Super Cool / Super Cute” folder. Our smartie friend Val (and fellow Pittsburgher) who works with and on about a million different design projects and interactive/digital organizations (PittMFUG and Refresh Pittsburgh and Flashpitt to name a few) is also the power behind the This Is Portable blog. Where, she recently posted a process piece about the awesome LED lit custom doggie jacket that she made for her dog, Tucker. (Yes, the handsome fellow above and below.)
Val’s post was so rad, it was even re-blogged by Make here. Dag!
Walking my dogs at night in the city, especially on busy, dark, or hilly streets – and even all 3 as we have commonly here in Pittsburgh – something like this fantastic little safety get-up with good design is just the coolest.
Rather than fudge up the technicals, (I find electricity and its theories to be mysterious, baffling, and a leap of faith), I’m just going to re-post how Val built, sewed and made this bit of awesome. It’s better that way, trust me.
“This was a really fun project to work on. Printing, sewing, and soft circuit stuff all rolled into one project! I can’t wait to take Tucker out for a walk wearing it, but right now there is just way too much snow for that to happen.
The LEDs on the hoodie’s pocket light up when it’s dark out and fade back when there is more ambient light. Perfect for evening walks in the winter when it gets dark far too early. The photo resister peaking out of the bottom of the pocket senses the amount of light present and the rest of the circuit reacts from there. There’s a lot going on in that little pocket!
If you’re interested in how it was made, I documented my work on this project in a flickr photo set with lots of notes. It’s much easier to describe in photos. The only part I didn’t take photos of was printing the skull and cloud on the fabric. Those were silk screened on the fabric before any of the sewing started.
Originally I had planned to make the hoodie a little more complex and include a lilypad arduino. As it turns out, a hoodie that fits a ten pound terrier is very small. Luckily I was able to convince one of my officemates, Tom, to do a little soldering for me for an alternate plan.
I used coin cell batteries (two 3V batteries) for this project because of their size and the fact that they would be easier to swap out in a small space. I was hoping that this project was still small enough to get away with using coin cells, but well, maybe not. They definitely work, but they die FAST. So, I’ll be buying a batch for cheap on eBay and then looking into lithium polymer batteries for my next project. Lesson learned.”
For more information, or to see what else Val & Jason are up to from time to time, be sure to visit This Is Portable or check out her full Flickr set about the construction of Tucker’s Light Up Dog Hoodie here.