VisiGlove is an E-Textile hack to a standard pair of cycling gloves to provide a lit signal when turning, and is controlled from the glove itself simply by pressing the forefinger and thumb together, making it easy to use whilst on the road.
Using easy sew LEDs to form the shape of an arrow, a clear and highly visible signal can be given when turning.
The soft battery pocket is secured with a snap fastener to give easy access to the coin cell so that it can be changed. VisiGlove is very easy to make, but requires a basic knowledge of textiles and circuits.
We got the team behind the VisiGlove to create a step by step guide for you to make your very own, so without further ado:
Learn how to:
- Hack an existing product to add an e-textiles circuit.
- Use a soft battery holder.
Level of difficulty:
- Intermediate. Requires basic textiles skills – hand sewing, machine sewing - and a basic understanding of simple electronic circuits.
In order to make your own VisiGloves you will need:
- High visibility/reflective fabric (150mm x 50mm).
- Base fabric - black cotton (200mm x 50mm).
- 2 x hook and loop fastener strips (30mm x 80mm) – Preferably in the same colour as base fabric.
- Thin Plastic – top layer (200mm x 50mm) (Not essential if you don't need your gloves to be waterproof).
- Ordinary black sewing thread.
- Ordinary white sewing thread.
- 4 x 3V coin cell.
20 x Easy sew LEDs.
- All purpose glue.
- 4 x Soft battery holder (or alternatively you could make this project even easier by using our pre-assembled coin cell power boards).
You will also need the following equipment:
Step-by-step guide to making a VisiGlove
Collect together all of the equipment and materials listed above. Print and cut out paper templates on A3 for actual size. Layout the templates onto the different fabrics and cut out all necessary pieces. (It will be helpful to pin the paper templates onto the fabric and cut around or use tailors chalk to draw around the templates).
Stitch the softer half of hook and loop fastener onto the base piece fabric of the arrow by machine or by hand (using the sewing machine will make the join stronger).
Mark the LED places with tailors chalk.
Glue the LEDs into place checking that they line up with the holes in the reflective layer arrow. Pay attention the polarity of the LEDs (the + and -).
Sew battery holders inside both of your gloves using non-conductive thread. (Ours have been sewn into the inside/top of the glove so that they are on the back of the hand). Please note that in this image only one coin cell holder can be seen, but you need two in order to light this many LEDs.
Sew LEDs that have been glued onto the base piece of fabric using conductive thread in the pattern shown on the template. Take care to make sure you don't let pieces of conductive thread touch each other as you will short the circuit.
We've labelled a place where this could happen with the brown arrow in the circuit diagram below:
You want to connect all of the positives together and then all of the negatives together so that the circuit is joined in parallel.
Place your two 3V batteries into the battery holders for each glove and check that your circuit works.
Use a small amount of glue on the reverse side of the reflective arrow to stick it down over the top of the LEDs.
Now we need to provide a way for the circuit on the arrow to join the circuit on the glove. On the reverse side of the arrow attach two small squares of conductive fabric with normal thread. Connect these with conductive thread to the LED circuit, one to the positive side of the circuit, one to the negative side.
Refer to the diagram above for a simplified circuit explanation. The circuit is effectively split into two parts, one part on the glove, the other on the arrow. The pieces of conductive Veclro are what joins the two parts together.
Sew the other side of the hook and loop fastener onto the glove using non-conductive thread.
Sew two small squares of conductive fabric onto the hook and loop fastener with conductive thread (to match up with the pieces already sewn on the LED arrow - ensure that these squares of conductive fabric are not touching).
Stitch the two finger tip pieces of conductive fabric onto the outside of the glove using non-conductive thread.
Sew with conductive thread from the positive side of the battery holders up to the tip of the thumb (connect this to the conductive fabric on the tip).
Then connect the negative side of the battery holders up through to the square of conductive fabric on the rough side of the hook and loop fastener (the small square of conductive fabric on the outside of the glove).
Stitch from the negative side of the arrow up to the index finger tip (connect to the conductive fabric on the finger tip).
Note: It is advisable to sew along the seam of the inside of the glove so that the stitches are not visible from the outside and will not interfere with using the glove.
These pieces of conductive fabric on the fingertips form the switch. To activate the circuit and light up the VisiGlove simply press the fingertip and thumb together.
Enjoy using your new VisiGloves, safe in the knowledge that your signals will be clear even in poor light.
This Kitronik University Course was produced by students of the NTU Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course, a course for graduates with a degree in a subject other than D&T, who wish to train as secondary Design and Technology teachers.
You can see our write up of their final presentations here
We'd like to thank all of the students for their hard work over the seven week course, and wish them all the best in their future careers.
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