ColorTalk Headphones

For my final project, I created wearable bluetooth enabled headphones that lets you communicate through color and led animations. Whether it’s to let someone know you’re busy or flirt with someone without using words.

The earbud component is 3D printed and attached to pre-existing bluetooth headphones. Using an Adafruit Feather nRF52 BLE micro controller with the Adafruit Bluefruit LE App, colors and animations for the LEDs can be changed using pre-programmed buttons and a color picker.

Here’s the instructables link for how to make your own!

Some in progress photos:

Headphone circuit diagramIMG_6472



Wk 11 HW & BoM for final

I finished Lesson 4 and the first half of Lesson 5 in class, so I don’t have photos or video of that.

I’ve decided to continue working on my bluetooth headphones for the final project. Proposed BoM for the headphones:

  • Microcontroller options:
  • 2 mini addressable RGB LED
  • Lithium battery 150 mAh, 3.7V and charger
  • Translucent ABS plastic (?) composite to 3D print the cover piece for the headphones
  • Plastic housing/neckpiece for the microcontroller (Not sure if I should purchase or try to 3D print it)
  • Cheap flat back BLE earbuds to attach LED and cover piece to
  • silicone covered stranded core wire – 30 AWG
  • White heat shrink tubing
  • soldering supplies
  • Glue to attach LEDs to earbuds. I think something like E6000 would work.

I was hoping to make the headphones wireless overall, like the Bluetooth headphones that hang around your neck. The microcontroller would be on the back of your neck like a necklace.

Final Project Proposals

First Proposal: ColorTalk earphones or earphone attachments


This would actually be a continuation of a project from another class. I’ve made one rough physical prototype already (pictured above) The earphones allow users to communicate via a color and light language. For example, 2 quick blinks of pink equates to a flirty wink.

Ideally, I’d like for either the headphones (or attachment if it’s not built into the headphones) to be bluetooth enabled and connected to an app so the LED color and animations could be changed. It would not involve the production of sound, only perhaps the building of a circuit with speakers if I made the whole thing from scratch. I’d like to play with 3D printing the headphone forms.

I’m not sure if this is too ambitious for my current skill level with the amount of time we have left in the class. However, I’m interested in making a more viable prototype for this project, so thought this might be a good opportunity.

2nd Proposal: Updated Pomodoro Timer


The timer I currently use for the Pomodoro time management method is neither bright nor obnoxious enough to get my attention when I need to stop working. I’d like a timer that lights up, vibrates, and makes noise. And maybe even walks off…..

3rd proposal: Curtain Timer

I have blackout curtains in my bedroom. They’re great for keeping out the bright lights of the city at night. However, come morning, it’s harder for me to wake up because my body still thinks it’s dark outside. I’d like to develop some sort of pulley system that I can program to open and close my blinds at certain times of the day. Not sure how to make it aesthetically pleasing though. Maybe I can go a bit steampunk with gears.




Wk 10 HW Exercises

Hey y’all! This week we got familiar with our Adafruit Huzzah boards as we begin to dive into the world of IoT. Had issues with the wifi, but was able to get the board to light up just fine.

I was not able to get my board to connect to the wi-fi, but I believe other people were having issues with the wi-fi connection as well. Here’s the message I got on the serial monitor every time I tried to connect.

Wait for WiFi... ...........
WiFi connected
IP address:
connecting to
connection failed
wait 5 sec...
connecting to
connection failed

Here’s a copy of my code:

// We start by connecting to a WiFi network
WiFiMulti.addAP("MFA PoD", "il0vedesign");

Serial.print("Wait for WiFi... ");

while ( != WL_CONNECTED) {

Serial.println("WiFi connected");
Serial.println("IP address: ");


void loop() {
const uint16_t port = 80;
const char * host = ""; // ip or dns

Serial.print("connecting to ");

// Use WiFiClient class to create TCP connections
WiFiClient client;

if (!client.connect(host, port)) {
Serial.println("connection failed");
Serial.println("wait 5 sec...");

// This will send the request to the server
client.println("Send this data to server");

//read back one line from server
String line = client.readStringUntil('\r');

Serial.println("closing connection");

Serial.println("wait 5 sec...");


F-wings, an Optical Show


Hey y’all!

For my Halloween Costume, I made light-up fairy wings using the following ingredients:

  1. 12 and 24 gauge wires for the frame
  2. White stockings/tights to cover the frame
  3. .75 mm fiber optic cables to provide light patterns on the wings
  4. Neopixel RGB LED strips
  5. 3D printed couplings to make sure the fiber optic cable ends were flush with the LED strip
  6. Flora micro-controller to control the light animations
  7. 330 Ω resistors and wires to connect LED strips to Flora
  8. Foam board as a base and cover for the electronics on the middle
  9. Ample amounts of hot glue to connect the fiber optic cables and LED strips to the couplings
  10. Arduino code for the light animations
  11. Nylon thread to sew the fiber optic cables in place on the wings
  12. External battery pack to power wings


Some new skills I learned doing this project:

  • How to use a 3D printer.
  • How to work with end-glow fiber optic cables and what the different types of fiber optic cables are.

My biggest challenges with the project were:

  • 3D printing the couplings. It took a fair amount of time to measure everything and build the shape in Tinkercad.
  • Soldering wires in my circuit and to the Neopixels. Either the wire was popping off, or the “input ” copper pad kept melting, or the wire would break where the wire insulation ended. I ended up having to redo parts of the circuit several times.
  • The battery pack I used kept shutting down power after about 1.5-2 min because my circuit didn’t draw enough power.


Special thanks to Ted, Helen, and Pantea for helping me finish my costume. Thank you to Becky and Rhea as well for helping me put my costume on. I wouldn’t have made it to the parade without all of you!


Process Photos:

Halloween Wings Circuit-2.png


#define PIN 6

// use define instead of integer because PIN not changing, so treat as a constant.
// variables change, but constants don't. Constants take up less space.
// if doing a variable need an equal sign and a semicolon at end

#define NUM_LEDS 8

#define BRIGHTNESS 80

// Parameter 1 = number of pixels in strip
// Parameter 2 = pin number (most are valid)
// Parameter 3 = pixel type flags, add together as needed:
// NEO_RGB Pixels are wired for RGB bitstream
// NEO_GRB Pixels are wired for GRB bitstream, correct if colors are swapped upon testing
// NEO_RGBW Pixels are wired for RGBW bitstream
// NEO_KHZ400 400 KHz bitstream (e.g. FLORA pixels)
// NEO_KHZ800 800 KHz bitstream (e.g. High Density LED strip), correct for neopixel stick
Adafruit_NeoPixel strip = Adafruit_NeoPixel(NUM_LEDS, PIN, NEO_GRB + NEO_KHZ800);

// Adafruit_NeoPixel strip is like the "int" on regular arduino

void setup() {

// Always have to use strip.begin and when coding neopixels

strip.begin(); // Intitialize the pixels; // Initialize all pixels to 'off'
//use; every time want to change the strip color

//for setup, "strip" is the name of the object we named above "Adafruit_Neopixel strip = [...]"

void loop() {
// Some example procedures showing how to display to the pixels:
colorWipe(strip.Color(255, 0, 0), 50); // Red
// 50 at end is the wait time
colorWipe(strip.Color(0, 255, 0), 50); // Green
colorWipe(strip.Color(0, 0, 255), 50); // Blue
colorWipe(strip.Color(0, 0, 0, 255), 50); // White


// Fill the dots one after the other with a color
void colorWipe(uint32_t c, uint8_t wait) {
//uint32_t is a special type of data but essentially just a fancy integer
//c is the name of the integer, and turns colorwipes in code earlier into a local function call
for(uint16_t i=0; i<strip.numPixels(); i++) {
//for loop starts at 0 and counts up by 1 until reaches until it reaches strip.numPixels
// which is the max number of pixels set at beginning
strip.setPixelColor(i, c);;
//update all the pixels
//if put outside for loop, all the colors will show at once

void rainbowFade2White(uint8_t wait, int rainbowLoops, int whiteLoops) {
float fadeMax = 100.0;
int fadeVal = 0;
uint32_t wheelVal;
int redVal, greenVal, blueVal;

for(int k = 0 ; k < rainbowLoops ; k ++){

for(int j=0; j<256; j++) { // 5 cycles of all colors on wheel

for(int i=0; i< strip.numPixels(); i++) {

wheelVal = Wheel(((i * 256 / strip.numPixels()) + j) & 255);

redVal = red(wheelVal) * float(fadeVal/fadeMax);
greenVal = green(wheelVal) * float(fadeVal/fadeMax);
blueVal = blue(wheelVal) * float(fadeVal/fadeMax);

strip.setPixelColor( i, strip.Color( redVal, greenVal, blueVal ) );


//First loop, fade in!
if(k == 0 && fadeVal < fadeMax-1) { fadeVal++; } //Last loop, fade out! else if(k == rainbowLoops - 1 && j > 255 - fadeMax ){


for(int k = 0 ; k < whiteLoops ; k ++){

for(int j = 0; j < 256 ; j++){

for(uint16_t i=0; i < strip.numPixels(); i++) { strip.setPixelColor(i, strip.Color(0,0,0, j ) ); }; } delay(2000); for(int j = 255; j >= 0 ; j--){

for(uint16_t i=0; i < strip.numPixels(); i++) { strip.setPixelColor(i, strip.Color(0,0,0, j ) ); }; } } delay(500); } void whiteOverRainbow(uint8_t wait, uint8_t whiteSpeed, uint8_t whiteLength ) { if(whiteLength >= strip.numPixels()) whiteLength = strip.numPixels() - 1;

int head = whiteLength - 1;
int tail = 0;

int loops = 3;
int loopNum = 0;

static unsigned long lastTime = 0;
for(int j=0; j<256; j++) {
for(uint16_t i=0; i<strip.numPixels(); i++) { if((i >= tail && i <= head) || (tail > head && i >= tail) || (tail > head && i <= head) ){ strip.setPixelColor(i, strip.Color(0,0,0, 255 ) ); } else{ strip.setPixelColor(i, Wheel(((i * 256 / strip.numPixels()) + j) & 255)); } } if(millis() - lastTime > whiteSpeed) {
if(head == strip.numPixels()){
lastTime = millis();

if(loopNum == loops) return;


void fullWhite() {

for(uint16_t i=0; i<strip.numPixels(); i++) {
strip.setPixelColor(i, strip.Color(0,0,0, 255 ) );
// Slightly different, this makes the rainbow equally distributed throughout
void rainbowCycle(uint8_t wait) {
uint16_t i, j;

for(j=0; j<256 * 5; j++) { // 5 cycles of all colors on wheel
for(i=0; i< strip.numPixels(); i++) {
strip.setPixelColor(i, Wheel(((i * 256 / strip.numPixels()) + j) & 255));

void rainbow(uint8_t wait) {
uint16_t i, j;

for(j=0; j<256; j++) {
for(i=0; i<strip.numPixels(); i++) {
strip.setPixelColor(i, Wheel((i+j) & 255));

// Input a value 0 to 255 to get a color value.
// The colours are a transition r - g - b - back to r.
uint32_t Wheel(byte WheelPos) {
WheelPos = 255 - WheelPos;
if(WheelPos < 85) {
return strip.Color(255 - WheelPos * 3, 0, WheelPos * 3,0);
if(WheelPos < 170) { WheelPos -= 85; return strip.Color(0, WheelPos * 3, 255 - WheelPos * 3,0); } WheelPos -= 170; return strip.Color(WheelPos * 3, 255 - WheelPos * 3, 0,0); } uint8_t red(uint32_t c) { return (c >> 8);
uint8_t green(uint32_t c) {
return (c >> 16);
uint8_t blue(uint32_t c) {
return (c);


led-fiber optic couplings.png


Fiber Optic Wing Progress

Current wing state of affairs:

A. Wire structure for wings almost complete

IMG_6230.jpg     IMG_6232.jpg

B. Circuit laid out in TinkerCad (replace Arduino board with Flora micro-controller in real life) and started playing with coding a little bit. Contemplated doing the wings with one LED strip, but decided to have the animations and color changes symmetrical on the wings, so I broke it into 2 strips. Also mapped out what LEDs and fiber optic cables will be assigned to which wing parts.


Halloween Wings Circuit.png

C. Most of my supplies have come in, but I’m still waiting on a few.

Project to do list:

  1. Finish wire frame for wings.
  2. Attach tights to wings.
  3. Build circuit with LEDs.
  4. Build code for wing animations.
  5. Create couplings for fiber optic cables to LEDs.
    • Likely
  6. Create housing for circuits and cable couplings.
  7. Create pouch to hold battery pack and circuit housing attached to wings.
  8. Lay out Fiber optic cable pattern and sew onto wings.
  9. Make method of attachment for wings to body:
    • Either elastic straps over shoulders or a piece to insert into a corset like in the tutorial referenced in my brainstorming post.


Excited to see how this turns out!


Week 6 HW: Halloween Costume Ideas

My first thought was “WINGS.”

After doing some research, I found LED and fiber optic lit wings. And dresses. And make-up. Needless to say, I’m now obsessed with fiber optics in costumes because they look so cool (when not overdone). I think they’d be perfect for the Halloween Parade. They also don’t seem to be super complicated to work with. Famous last words.

My 3 ideas are:

  1. Wings with LEDs in the center and fiber optic cables used to form light pattern on the wings
  2. Rocket booster back pack with LED’s attached
  3. Dino hood/back piece with either just LEDs or fiber optics on the spine

Below are sketches of ideas and potential wing shapes.


If I make wings, I will somewhat be following this Instructables tutorial, but don’t want to make an exact copy of them. If it’s not too complicated, I’m toying with the idea of adding a microphone sensor so the color changes with volume of sound. It would be a slower transition color change than the LED’s that respond to music though. I’m ordering an adafruit Flora microcontroller and LED strip to use in the costume. For power, I intend to use a 6V coin cell battery and mount that with the the other electronics in a box. I will most likely rely on the battery pack toggle switch to control power.

At this point, I’m not sure how I want to program the colors for the costume.

Here are some other inspiration costumes:

Here’s a key resource link as I (hopefully) learn to use them for my project:


Wk 5 HW

This week saw the rise of Inspector Gadget and the re-emergence of Lite Brite. (90s childhood anyone?)

A.k.a I made a motor spin and a Neopixel strip light up with Arduino.  😀

Initially had some issues with getting the motor to spin when I used a 1K ohm resistor. After some troubleshooting and help from Chester at the VFL, switched to 100 ohm resistor and everything was hunky-dory.

I’m now low-key obsessed with soldering, so had fun putting more stuff together with hot metal and wires.

Neopixel coding is still pretty mysterious to me, but the rainbow lights are worth the struggle. I understand how to change colors and pulse times (I think). Functions and come of the color loops were hard to understand, so I’d like to review that in class if we have time.

Looking forward to the next lesson!


Berri, the Happy-glow-lucky turtle


This is Berri. She likes berries, taking naps, and making new friends. Berri’s a little special in that her shell glows. For anyone feeling a bit sad or blue, Berri’s there to light up your day. She’s a pretty mean cuddler too! Also, if you need a little help getting to the bathroom in the middle of the night, Berri’s happy to light the way!


Berri came from the idea of a cute night light that could also be little friend for kids who are scared of the dark or adults struggling with anxiety. The playful fruit patterns and fuzzy fabric serve to lighten the atmosphere and make the dark (be it physical or mental) less threatening.


Initial concept sketch of Berri with the glowing shell.

Circuit diagram IMG_6037








Above are the circuit diagrams and resistor calculations for the LED circuit inside the plush, and the sewing pattern (minus an additional rectangle). The pattern making was challenging (sorry it’s a bit crinkly in the photo). I learned more about construction and assembly order through some trial and error sewing.

Process photos of circuitry and sewing:

IMG_5989       IMG_5992

Sewing the shell.

IMG_6005       IMG_6009

Adding resistors and building the circuit.


It lives!


Testing the light diffusion with poly-fill.

IMG_6018       IMG_6021

Sewing the fuzzy body and putting it all together. Clearly it’s been a long time since I’ve sewn T^T

And voila!