I’ve been tossing this project in my head for a few years. I signed up when the Myo Armband came out on kickstarter and figured I could make use of it one day. When I purchased the the Apple Watch, then that got the wheels in motion to build an LEDVest.
Some of the goals I wanted to achieve included the following:
- Learn the iOS development (Swift language)
- Drill down on Bluetooth LE development
- Persist information on iCloud and retrieve from different devices
- Create something useful and provides context based information to others while riding my bicycle at night
- Explore iOS HealthKit and MapKit
My wife did all the sewing. The LED’s are so bright that the iPhone camera does not do it justice inside. Many people commented from motorists, pedestrians, and cycles on how cool this vest was.
It took a lot of effort but it was a nice diversion from the day job. Learning a new programming language, organizing the code so that the appropriate level of abstractions exist to easily add new features, creating an application level protocol to control the LEDVest, and designing and building simple hardware bumped up the fun factor.
Using my Apple Watch, I can speak text to display and I send it to the LEDVest to display. If I am annoyed at a stop light, I tend to keep it safe. e.g. “Smog sucks”. So far the software periodically displays the temperature from the hardware, along with the WTI price and Canadian currency via the yahoo finance API. If I loose connectivity to the iPhone, the arduino portion fails-safe and displays the stop symbol and posts the temperature every 30 seconds.
I’ll talk about the implementation details later.