This ISS Orbit Skirt was a prototype developed at the NASA Space Apps Challenge Philadelphia with the help of virtual team mate, Brooks Zurn. The time for the International Space Station to orbit the Earth is shown through white LEDs moving around the skirt, while a blue LED at planet Earth indicates a complete orbit. One of the highlights of the piece was the use of NASA’s actual earth image for the iron-on detail. The most difficult part of the project was attempting to keep the conductive thread stitches invisible, as well as the electronics. The microcontroller was hidden in a pocket of the skirt while the battery was in the waistband. Since these LEDs were sequins that had to be individually controlled, they had to each connect to a separate pin on the Lilypad Arduino, causing the stitching to be insane. The project placed third in the competition and local astronomer/judge Derrick Pitts from the Franklin Institute was especially excited asking, “What are you planning for men?. I’ve definitely received a lot of attention wearing it. Yes, I know I still need to get a better video of this!
I’m currently working on a related piece for Adafruit and the NASA Datanauts program, so stay tuned! Let’s just say it is better than the skirt and more exciting in capability.