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XBee’s First Hip-Hop Performance

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Adam W Dessa ProjectAdam Wolf, an engineer at Wireless Design Services by day, electronics maker and creator by night, received a request to build a light show for an upcoming Doomtree concert. Dessa, a singer and rapper in Doomtree, wanted to create something ‘beautiful and spooky’– the main source of inspiration being a scene from the Little Mermaid. The hope was to create glowing lights in the singers’ mouths and on their clothing that could dim and brighten with the music.

First order of business was to a find a way to get the singers’ mouths to glow.

As you might expect, the mouth isn’t the greatest environment for a circuit, so some clever engineering was required. The circuit had to be enclosed in mouth-safe plastic to ensure any saliva wouldn’t close the circuit.

For control of the lights, Adam used magnets as a way to regulate voltage, so each singer is able to turn the mouthpiece on by bringing a magnet up to her face.  A lot work went into this little device, it even required a trip to the dentist to create a well-fitting mouth piece!

[meteor_slideshow slideshow=”doomtree”]

The lights on each of the singers’ sternums is where XBee comes in. Each LED module was connected to a MOSFET, which was connected to the PWM pin on an XBee Series 1.  This setup allowed Doomtree’s light guy, Arlo, to control the lights’ voltage over a wireless link. Above is a picture of the control interface. By adjusting the knob on the top of the control box Arlo is able to adjust the brightness of the lights to match the music.

Below is a short clip of the LED lights in action.

The Pool Makes Headlines Around the World

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The Pool, built by Jen Lewin, is an interactive light sculpture connected with XBee. It’s been a busy year for Jen as she’s been touring around the world sharing The Pool everywhere from Singapore, to Australia to Burning Man. Here are a few recent articles and videos that detail the travels of one of our favorite XBee projects.

[Video] Jen Lewin: Artist dazzles with light and sound installations | BBC

An Exclusive First Look at the Other-Worldly Art of Burning Man 2014 | Huffington Post

Festival of Lights Illuminates Downtown Cleveland | Design Boom

Sustainable Art Glows Bright in Singapore | NBC News

You can learn more about The Pool in the XBee Gallery. Check out Jen Lewin’s website and like her on Facebook to get more information on what she’s working on. Maybe you’ve been lucky enough to see The Pool first-hand? Share your photos with us at @XBeeWireless.

The Pool by Jen Lewin: XBee Art at i Light Marina Bay Festival

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The Straits Times
Jen Lewin’s project The Pool, is stealing the show at this year’s i Light Marina Bay Festival. The festival aims to promote environmentally-responsible behavior and artists are incorporating recyclable materials and energy efficient lighting in their interactive art installations.

The Pool consists of over 100 interactive pads that emit colorful light and react to users’ movements. As participants move across the installation the pads send out colors and blend together to create a stunning visual display. Each pad has a simple set of rules that reacts to information being sent to and from sensors on every pad throughout the Pool. More than 100 XBee 802.15.4 radios send this information wirelessly from an Arduino in each pad that creates the colorful reactions. The project is monitored and updated remotely using a Digi ConnectPort X2e XBee gateway via Device Cloud.

The Pool was even featured on the front-page of The Straits Times, Singapore’s most widely read newspaper. Congrats Jen! The next stop for The Pool will be at Vivid Sydney May 23.

Check out Jen Lewin’s website to see more of her work.

Disneyland Creates New Experiences with Digi Technology

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Disney’s World of Color has always been a favorite among Disney Land attendees, and a recent update to the show has made it an even more unique and immersive experience. In 2012, Glow with the Show was introduced as a way to bring a new level of interaction between the show and audience.

Glow with the show is the result of thousands of audience members wearing hats that each contain LED lights in each of the hat’s ears. The hats are synched together to flash and change colors. The Disney Tech Crew is able to control the colors of the hat’s ears from one central location. From this spot, commands are broadcasted via infrared. Each hat contains an infrared sensor, which reads the signal and the LED lights respond accordingly.

The device that makes Glow with the Show possible is Digi’s System-on-Module, ConnectCore, which serves as a base station for the light show. Signals are sent to the ConnectCore via Ethernet and the module broadcasts the infrared signal out to the hats. The effect of thousands of hats synched together creates an ocean of color that washes over the audience and creates exciting special effects.

The hats have also been a part of Cars Land, Mad T Party, Fantasmic, and even the nightly firework display Magical. As you walk through different areas of Cars Land, the hats will change in response to the environment. Future plans are  to incorporate Glow with the Show with more areas within Disney parks. Glow with the Show hats are bringing Disney fans closer to their favorite characters and audiences are becoming a part of the show.

We often hear of M2M technology being a solution for business inefficiencies, but here we see it can be also used to create unique and immersive experiences.  Wireless connected devices can be used to create exciting experiences, by making it easier to integrate into our lives and providing a higher level of interaction.

The Awe of Connecting Light Continues

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Connecting Light may have taken place over a week ago now, but there are still amazing photos surfacing and the awe of the pure scale of the project continues. Here are some of our never-before-seen photos from the setup and presentation.

Do you have photos of the event you’d like to share? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments section below. And, if you haven’t already, check out Digi’s own Rob Faludi explaining our involvement in Connecting Light on BBC National News.

Connecting Light Highlights

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Connecting Light made for an exciting time in northern England last week. From the preparation to deployment, Connecting Light was an experience to be remembered. We shared real-time updates on Facebook and Twitter, but here’s a collection of highlights and a behind-the-scenes look at preparation, before-launch demo, press and more.

After a long night of sorting XBees on Wednesday night, on Thursday, the Connecting Light team setup shop at Vallum Farm to prepare for the first on-site demo. The demo went well, and a few news outlets, including BBC, came by to get their first round of coverage. You can see photos from the prep and demo below, and you can check out more photos from the Connecting Light team here.

Also, here’s a great BBC video with David Sillito featuring some of Thursday’s preview footage and the installation’s premier on Friday night.

After mingling with VIP guests at the Roman Army Museum on Friday, Digi’s Collaborative Strategy Leader, Rob Faludi, had the opportunity to appear live on BBC News to explain how Connecting Light worked. It was the perfect time to please curious minds with the details of the installation. To film the piece, we went to a beautiful cliff that became home to a series of balloons for the night.

Here’s a full diagram to accompany Rob’s explanation and another video with even deeper detail.

Check out more photos and behind the scenes footage from the Connecting Light team on their blog here. Do you attend Connecting Light? Did you send a message? Share your experience and photos and videos!

Faludi on BBC LIVE: Digi & Connecting Light

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The BBC News interviewed me live, explaining the Digi technology behind YesYesNo’s Connecting Light art installation for London Festival 2012’s Cultural Olympiad. We’re on the edge of a craggy cliff about halfway along the installation of 400 huge interactive weather balloons that are illuminated in different colors by text messages sent from people around the world. I’m explaining how Programmable XBees and the Digi Device Cloud make that possible. And although you don’t see them in the live shot, we are entirely surrounded by sheep:

Wearable Tech: Projects and People to Know

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Technology: it’s not just robots and computer parts. It’s getting more and more personal, and wearable tech is beginning to play a prominent role in both the tech world and fashion industry. Here’s a list of projects and people that make for an awesome introduction to the world of wearable tech.


Beating Heart Headband
The Beating Heart Headband uses a heartrate sensor and perfboard Arduino to flash a heart-shaped LED display to the rhythm of your heart.

Google’s Project Glass and Oakley Glasses
Google and Oakley are creating technology that can project information directly onto lenses– an experimental effort to build smartphone features into eyewear.

The Intelligent Cycling Jacket
Combining intelligent materials like water resistant, breathable organic cotton and flexible LED circuits, Sporty Supaheroe is an intelligent cycling jacket that promises to keep cyclists both safe and comfortable on the road.

Will.i.am Video Jacket
During the latest Black Eyed Peas tour, singer Will.I.Am sported a hand tailored jacket made by Hardy Amis’ master taylor Jan Cicmanec and completely covered in an LED video system. The jacket is capable of displaying animations at video speed from a built in SD card.

You can see more wearable tech projects including Adidas Megalizer, Proximity-Sensing Pocket Squares and Party in the Mouth on the XBee Project Gallery.


LadyAda (Limor Fried) of Adafruit Industries
Adafruit on Twitter
Limor Fried, Founder of Adafruit Industries, is a MIT trained engineer. She is the first female engineer on WIRED magazine’s cover, named one of the “Most influential Women in Technology” by Fast Company and the winner of an EFF pioneer award for teaching and sharing electronics.

She has been featured in hundreds of publications and media around the world. Adafruit was started in 2005, Limor’s goal is to create the best place online for learning electronics and making the best designed products for makers of all ages and skill levels. Since then, Adafruit has grown to over 25 employees in the heart of NYC.

Syuzi Pakhchyan
Syuzi Pakhchyan on Twitter
Syuzi Pakhchyan is a fashion technologist with a fetish for beautiful code and conductive cloth. She’s an experience designer whose work investigates the intersection between code, cloth and culture. Her design and research interests include wearable technologies, physical and soft computing, and interactive textile design. Her book “Fashioning Technology: A DIY Intro to Smart Crafting“ explores the emerging creative practice of soft circuits and soft technologies.

Steve Mann
Steven Mann, the author of Wearable Computing, is a professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto. Mann holds degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and McMaster University, where he was also inducted into the McMaster University Alumni Hall of Fame, Alumni Gallery, 2004, in recognition of his career as an inventor and teacher. While at MIT he was one of the founding members of the Wearable Computers group in the Media Lab.

Diana Eng
Diana Eng  Twitter
Educated at RISD in apparel design, Diana Eng started her career as a designer on Bravo’s Project Runway, Season 2. Diana worked as an assistant designer at Generra but left the company to pursue a career working with more experimental fashion. She found her niche in Victoria’s Secret research and development department. The department created new innovation for mass market.

In 2009, Eng received a grant from Rhizome and an artist residency from Eyebeam Art and Technology Center to create fashion prototypes using laser cutters, 3-d printers, and electronics for her educational program FairytaleFashion.org. Diana started her ready-to-wear line Diana Eng in 2010, and continues working to bring new innovation in fashion to market.

Love wearable tech? Follow our Wearable Tech board on Pinterest.

Know someone or something that should be on this list? Let us know in the comments section or on Twitter.

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