Get Started with Wearable Electronics using LilyPad Arduino

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Did you ever want to build a wearable electronic project like health monitoring jacket or led shirt or similar project? If yes, then you should be very happy to know that you can do it very easily with LilyPad Arduino board.

LilyPad Arduino is a series of board and accessories developed by Leah Buechley and SparkFun Electronics for the hobbyist to build wearable DIY projects easily. There is a main board which has a low power Atmega168 and various other supporting board and accessories for adding features to the main board.

All LilyPad boards and accessories (sensor, actuators) can be sewn to fabric via a conductive thread. LilyPad board is programmed using the Arduino IDE. It offers the same functionality that you will find in other Arduino boards, in a lightweight, round package designed to minimize snagging and profile, with wide tabs that can be sewn down and connected with conductive thread.

As of now, Sparkfun has developed more than 40 products under LilyPad Arduino family. SparkFun also maintains an online resource center and knowledge base for teaching how to use LilyPad Arduino board for building various wearable DIY projects.

LilyPad Arduino

LilyPad can be used in various creative fields, from traditional fiber arts, quilting, crafting, costuming and cosplay to engineering, design research, and prototyping, and even computer science.

No matter how complex your wearable DIY project is, there are always 3 basic things you would need –

  1. A power source
  2. Conductive Paths (conductive thread stitching) between electronic components
  3. The LilyPad pieces that are connected together to light up, make sound or perform other behaviors (the “function” of your project)

LilyPad offers these 3 basic things with which you can build simple to complex wearable projects easily. Check out some of the cool projects shown by SparkFun here. You can also follow the below getting started guide from SparkFun to start your wearable electronic project journey –

We will share more details on individual LilyPad pieces in the future article when we will discuss some specific wearable DIY project. Till then stay tuned!

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