Tag Archives: LilyPad

Research Critique: Costume and Textile

Utam Moses (choreographer) and Eric Lindsay’s (composer)”The Space Between Us” is a collaborative electronic music and modern dance piece for computationally enhanced dancers and MAX/MSP, a programming language for interactive music and multimedia.

the space between us
The dancers’ costumes are augmented a wearable microcomputer (LilyPad Arduino), a wireless transmitter, and various sensors.

The costumes are embedded with LilyPad Arduino technology. One of the dancers’ (with the round skirt) costume combines LilyPad components and an XBee (wireless transmitter) together with pressure and flex sensors connected by conductive thread, which detects and transmits the movements of the dancer to the composer’s laptop, which are then used to generate and control sound within a MAX/MSP environment.

Lilypad Arduino Board


“The e-textiles facilitate interactivity between dancers’ movements and the music that accompanies their dancing, transforming the power dynamic between composer and choreographer by putting the power of live musical improvisation in the hands (body) of dancers. This relationship extends an unprecedented power to dancers, who are most often constrained by the decisions made previously by a composer.”                                                                                            – Eric Lindsay

For the costumes to achieve functionalities and expressive capabilities, sensors are to track the most communicative motions of the dancers, the music controls had to be sensitive to the gestures onstage but conspicuous enough so as to ensure the audience knew what movements elicited which kinds of sounds, and the costumes had to withstand duress from stretching, heat, and perspiration.

Instead of a dancer’s movements being a slave to the fixed constraints of a pre-composed piece of music, the wireless dance costume puts the power of live musical composition in the hands (body) of the dancer, who can explore and improvise new shapes and structures within an otherwise free musical environment.

This project uses Arduino kit which is an open source technology. It is important as all Arduino boards are completely open-source, empowering users to build them independently and eventually adapt them to their particular needs. The software too, is open-source, and it is growing through the contributions of users worldwide. A worldwide community of makers – students, hobbyists, artists, programmers, and professionals – has gathered around this open-source platform, their contributions have added up to an incredible amount of accessible knowledge that can be of great help to novices and experts alike.


Final Project: Project Update #1

Materials – Electronics

Main Board:

LilyPad Arduino 328 Main Board with FTDI Basic Breakout

Power Supply:

  • CR2032 Lithium Cell Battery – 3 V
  • Polymer Lithium Ion Batteries – 2000mAh 3.7V
CR2032 Lithium Cell Battery and battery holders
Polymer Lithium Ion Batteries With JST Connector



Light Sensor
  • Light sensor: This is a simple to use light sensor that outputs an analog value from 0 to 5V. With exposure to daylight, this sensor will output 5V. Covering the sensor with your hand, the sensor will output 0V. In a normal indoor lighting situation, the sensor will output from 1 to 2V.

Accelerometer: The LilyPad Accelerometer can detect joint movement as well as inclination and vibration. The ADXL335 outputs a 0V to 3V analog signal on each of the X, Y, and Z axis. We will need to convert this analog voltage to a gravity amount and use trigonometry to calculate a true ‘angle’. If we are not looking for tilt, it is very easy to use this sensor for basic motion sensing.


  • LED – Blue, pink, yellow and white.
  • Tri-Color LED: Use the Tri-Color LED board as a simple indicator, or by pulsing the red, green, and blue channels, we can create any color.
  • Buzzer
LED (Blue, Yellow, Pink and White)



Tri-Color LED

Switches, Buttons and Protoboard



Wireless Communication

  • Bluetooth Mate Gold





Conductive Thread and Needle Set



Light Sensor

The LED is turned off when it’s bright and turned on when it’s dark. I used conductive thread as connections and it worked pretty well. Then I used a small cell battery as the power supply.



I used the buzzer to play different tones. (Basically just change the vibration frequency of the buzzer.)



I tested the connection of Bluetooth Mate to my Mac. It took quite a while to connect to my Mac and the connection seemed unstable.

I managed to connect the device and send data (8888888….) to my laptop as you can see from the serial monitor. However, the connection always failed after a short period of time. I am still figuring out why.


Accelerometer: Motion Detection

One input: accelerometer.

One output: Buzzer

I used an accelerometer to detect my wrist movements along x, y and z-axis. Any acceleration along these axes will trigger the buzzer.

In the second video:

One input: Accelerometer

Two outputs: Buzzer and Tri-color LED

I also increase the threshold to change the sensitivity of the accelerometer. So if the movement is not big enough, it won’t be detected as you can see in the video. However, there are still some delays. And the sounds generated are quite random and inharmonious.


That’s the progress I have made during the past week. It’s mostly electronics. However, I also went to the studio and found Galina to learn about the sewing machine and how to fuse platics for the costume design. I will focus more on the costume design in the coming week.