Women In STEM (Final Project) – Catherine Roberts

My final project symbolizes “Women In STEM”. The old wedding style dress symbolizes the old perspective of women that we are trying to change. This comes through in both the ideals of wedding traditions themselves and the simple white color of the dress which is meant to symbolize purity and virginity. All of the technology added to the dress is used to turn that white color into a diverse rainbow. This change represents the unlimited possibilities¬†for identity and attempts to change the past ideals of purity and ownership that the wedding dress once represented. Additionally, the colors are controlled by an accelerometer which shows that the only way we can create a new feminine perspective is by making our voices heard and participating in the movement towards equality. This metaphor is especially suited for women in STEM due to its very technical nature and the historical lack of female participation in the field. Overall, the message this dress is trying to convey is prejudice and hate can only be eradicated with action by those who strive for equality.

There were two main parts of my project: LED lights and color changing fabric. Both were controlled by an Adafruit FLORA board and a FLORA accelerometer. The LEDs were connected directly to the FLORA and controlled solely by Arduino code usung the FastLED library. The data that came in from the accellerometer was used to control what animation was played. As a result, there were five animations that corresponded to five speed intervals that were “Still”, “Slow”, “Medium”, “Fast”, and “Very Fast”. The color changing fabric was controlled by putting a bunch of metal clips between the actual heater fabric and the cloth painted with color changing paint and wrapping them with wires. After each clip was wired the negative and positive wires were consolidated into a single wire which was then added to a transistor circuit that connected the dress, battery, and FLORA together. The transistor acted as a switch controlled by the FLORA that told the battery when to dispense power and when to be off.

The dress was completely wireless thanks to a 3.3V battery to power the FLORA and a 11.1V battery for the color changing fabric. Both of these batteries were lithium polymer, which allowed me to have a large amount of power that took up a very small space. I plan to work on this project further over break so the color changing fabric will have more clips which will cause a larger color change on the front of the dress.  Overall, I really like how this project turned out and I learned so much about myself and my newfound love for electronic arts and about Arduino which is very versatile technology and will help me immensely in the future.

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