Modifying Flora

Flora, an amazing wearable Arduino compatible microcontroller is what I am using for my project. I have had to think of ways to make the device have the least amount of wires and components to it as it supposed to be for children who have additional needs.

The first idea was the create a ‘sandwich’ board. This consisted of a copper board, a layer of felt, and then the Flora board. The felt would stop the flora from touching the copper and would have wires that would extend from the Flora onto the copper board and soldered onto the board.

However, after putting the copper board under the shirt (despite having it covered with comfortable material) it still felt uncomfortable and the outline of board was clearly visible to others. The idea was that the wearable would be discrete and comfortable for the user and something that wouldn’t easily break or malfunction. So after testing it, the idea was scrapped.

I did a few more tests on how to make the wires more comfortable and be kept at a minimum. The pulse detecter had three male header pins and the Flora had holes which is good for sewing into things, but not very good for connecting male header pins to. So I thought about it and discussed with my teacher, and came up with the idea to create female header pins from the Flora to the pulse sensor but also have several other female pins for other inputs and outputs.

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This was particularly handy for create lots of input and outputs but not have so many wires. The Flora comes with 2x  grounds and 2x  3.3v power. I already knew that my pulse detector needed 1 power and 1 ground as well as a signal. I also knew that my Neopixel LED would need a power and ground and my vibration motor and button would also need a power and ground each. I cut the ends of my pulse detector off and then added them to the Flora, making sure the the males turned into females. After all the connections where on, I tested them with a multimeter to make sure that the connections worked. Then, I covered each soldering area with heat shrink to make sure they were protected (in case it started to rust or became damaged over time).

Altogether, I would need 4 power and ground inputs. Using  1 power and ground but having them both have 4 connections saved alot of space with minimal wires although it did take a lot of time to solder the wires!

The end result is a nice little modified Flora with minimal wires and which can easily be sewn into a shirt. Check out my future posts for more!


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