As we gear up for Burning Man, thousands are sewing and soldering costumes to bring with them on their pilgrimage to the Black Rock Desert. Many of these costumes will include lighting—or what burners call “glow”— since illuminating your body in the desert in the middle of the night is a matter of not only festivity but also safety (how else will others spot you?).
Beyond Burning Man, illuminated apparel is all the rage. Ever since Chanel showed LED kicks on the runway, glow has gone mainstream. But what if you want to wear something luminous but don’t have a background in tech?
Enter Woah Board, an open prototyping platform for creating wearable electronics. The project—which just launched on Kickstarter a few days ago—wants to enable people to make fashion tech, limited by only their imaginations and not their technological know-how.
All you need to get started is the Whoa Board, a micro USB cable, and a piece of electroluminescent material (EL). If you’re wondering what the heck EL is, check out this video below from Adafruit.
“What makes Whoa Board unique is its ability to make EL materials touch-reactive,” says maker Josh Vekhter, who is spearheading the project. Vekhter first started playing around with integrating EL products into textiles a year ago, when he was given a loom by happenstance and decided to try to weave in electronics for an art installation in Boston. After that, he enlisted the help of his father, an electrical engineer, to make Woah Board easy-to-use and competitive with other EL products on the market.
Projects that have already been created with Woah Board include masks that are touch-sensitive, jackets that light up based on motion, and leggings where the light flow responds to movement.
Beyond EL, the Woah Board can work with LEDs, too, and has a host of programmable pins that can be used to communicate with lots of other devices. “The Woah Board isn’t just for EL—it’s designed to be a general-purpose wearable prototyping board,” says Vekhter.
Love what you see? Help support the Woah Board (and the Maker Movement) by donating to their Kickstarter campaign.