Imagine: You’re walking down the street at night. You turn a corner, and suddenly, coming your way, you see someone with “Avatar” playing on their jacket.
It’s a futuristic notion, but according to the folks at open-source hardware maker Adafruit Industries, it’s one that’s just months away.
That’s because Adafruit has just unveiled Flora, its brand-new Arduino and Arduino-compatible wearable electronics platform. Designed to give anyone the ability to craft a matrix of up to hundreds or someday, more than 1,000 small LED “pixels,” Flora is meant to make it possible to easily craft custom wearable multi-LED pixel designs perfect for art events like Burning Man, or even the streets of whatever town you live in
According to a Flora FAQ, it “has built-in USB support [meaning] you plug it in to program it [and] it just shows up.” It works with Mac, Windows, and Linux, and there’s also USB HID support, “so it can act like a mouse, keyboard, MIDI, etc. to attach directly to cell phones.”
Adafruit is currently developing Flora apps for the iPhone and iPad and Android. And its modules include GPS, Bluetooth, a 3-axis accelerometer, a compass, a flex sensor, piezo, infrared LED, a push button, an embroidered and capacitive keyboard, OLED, and more, the company says. As well, the system is designed to be fabric-friendly so that it doesn’t tear clothing.