Illuminate Me: Merging Conductive Sewing, Technology, and Solar Power

Average Rating:
Rate This Activity:
Kristy Schneider
Intended Grade Level(s):
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Learning Goal(s):

1. Students will design and sew a wearable circuit using conductive thread. 2. Students will program a wearable microcontroller to light up garment with bright LEDs. 3. Students will incorporate solar power into a wearable garment project by recharging NiMH batteries for a renewable energy battery pack. 4. Students will apply knowledge of circuitry and energy transfer to maximize design.

Next Generation Science Standard(s) Met:

Light up your clothing using solar power! For this unit, students will attach thin, flexible solar modules to a bike helmet and recharge NiMH rechargeable batteries for a renewable energy battery pack. The rechargeable batteries will be used to light up bright LEDs via conductive thread and a programmed microcontroller. This lesson is great for a culminating project since it integrates three major components: sewing circuits with conductive thread, programmable hardware, and energy transformations using photovoltaics. Even if you and your students do not know programming, you can still be successful with downloading prewritten programs. The main lesson is based on the Light Up Angler Fish written by Adafruit’s Becky Stern and can be found on the Adafruit’s website

Science Kit Material(s) Used


Other Material(s) Used

Adafruit FLORA platform, FLORA Smart Neopixels, USB A/ Micro B Cable,Flexible solar modules, 3 x AAA Battery holders, 3 x AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries, t-shirt, conductive thread, needle, embroidery hoop, tracing paper, embroidery floss, wire stripper