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LilyPad Arduino: The facts

Leah Buechley and SparkFun Electronics have developed a microcontroller board designed for textiles. The application was called LilyPad Arduino and you can purchase it as a complete lilypad kit or you can only get certain components. The Lilypad Arduino functions using a microcontroller called Atmega168V or Atmega328V. Physically, the lily pad is a small circle, 50 mm (2 in.) in diameter and 8 mm (1/32 in) thick.

The uses of Lily Pad Arduino

The LilyPad Arduino is a board that can physically sew on fabric by using conductive thread. In order to be able to do that, the LilyPad Arduino board needs to be programmed. The Arduino programming language and the Arduino development environment are used to program it. You can even build your own LilyPad Board as it is an open-source electronics platform. You can download for free the programming Arduino Software.

LiIlyPad Arduino and the legendary blue water lilly

The LilyPad Arduino board can help you to sew on textiles patterns that are similar with the shape of the water lily. The water lily is round-shaped and it starts growing in bigger circles from the centre onwards. Most of the patterns that can be sewn by using the LilyPad board are created following this concept. Shield boards are available to increase the diversity of patterns. You can find them on the Internet and you can download them or get inspired.

LilyPad Arduino: Hardware

You can either buy the board or you can make it. If you buy it, you only need an external source between 2.7 and 5.5 volts. It is very important that you do not power your lily pad to more than 5.5 Volts unless you want to short circuit it. You can also use a connection via USB to power the board which is much safer and efficient. Do not wash the board unless you take the risk for the possible damage. Supplementary shield boards can be used to increase the number of patterns created. If you wish to make the board yourself, you can follow these free guidelines at Arduino.cc.

LilyPad Arduino: Programming

You can download the Arduino programming software at Arduino.cc. It is free and it can be adapted to your needs. If you don’t need to download it and you already have it, check the version that you own if it is higher than 0010. You can program your Lillypad Arduino board by using an earlier version as well. However, it will operate only at half the possible speed as all related functions would be off.

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