Clothes that light up when you move might be a bit Star Trek, but not necessarily in a bad way. The motion-activated LEDs in this skirt flash when the wearer moves to give the impression that it’s sparkling, a bit like how rhinestones or sequins sparkle in candlelight, but this skirt operates under its own power. And the design isn’t a prototype at some MIT lab, it’s actually a pretty simple DIY project that most people could do by themselves.
The sparkle skirt was designed by Becky Stern for Adafruit Industries, a company that produces all kinds of DIY supplies, electronics, project kits, and helpful step-by-step tutorials like this one. It doesn’t require any soldering, but a bit of sewing is necessary. (Sewing is easy, and this project doesn’t require any complicated stitches. Tutorials for a basic running stitch are all over the Internet, but all you really need to know is that the needle goes in and out until the line is sewn.)
Basically, a two-layered skirt is decorated with color-changing LEDs that are connected with conductive thread to a small, flat motion sensor that’s hidden in the lining of the skirt. When turned on, the motion sensors trigger the lights to twinkle with the wearer’s movements. The twinkle effect is diffused by the skirt’s outer layer, which could be a sheer fabric like chiffon, but we’re partial to the look of the lights flashing under lace-patterned cut outs, like on the sample above.
Supplies for this specific skirt would run about $85, not including the cost of the skirt. But then you’d have a unique glowing skirt that you could say you made all by yourself.
There are other wearable projects on the Adafruit website, like a light-up backpack for late-night bikers, a pair of Chuck Taylors with a glowing star logo, and an embroidered angler fish with a glowing lure for freaking out people who saw Finding Nemo.
What do you think—would you wear light-up clothes?