This stuff is amazing!
Researchers at the MIT Media Lab have come up with a modular, flexible, and cuttable “SensorTape.” If you’ve used RGB LEDs with a wearable project or scrolled through Sparkfun or Adafruit’s websites (or the much cheaper versions on Ebay…), you’ve probably seen the similar-looking strips of LEDs that you can buy. But, this SensorTape takes that idea about 100 steps further by adding the capability to incorporate almost any type of sensor you could want.
Here’s a close up look at the chips and sensors on the prototypes from their paper – a) shows their initial prototype and idea as solid circuit boards connected with the tape while b) shows their second SensorTape prototype. The second version is made completely out of the tape form factor and you can see the sensors, LED, and chips along with the solder pads and cut lines.
Each diamond shaped node contains an Atmel ATmega328p microcontroller, which is used on most Arduino based boards and makes SensorTape easily programmable with Arduino. Each node also has an RGB LED, an ambient light sensor, a three-axis accelerometer and gyroscope, a time-of-flight IR distance sensor, and a voltage regulator. The master node at the end of the tape also contains a serial-to-USB converter and a Bluetooth transceiver.
This SensorTape has so many sensors that I often wish for or incorporate in projects that end up being bulky. The applications for DIY wearables are already making me excited. The team has uploaded all the hardware and software files to the MIT Media Lab GitHub page, though I’m not sure if there are any plans to manufacture the tape right now.
All I have to say is…
diy, maker, mit media lab, sensors, sensortape