Close Encounters Hat – Wearable Tech


This hat mimics the lights and sounds of the famous ship using NeoPixel LEDs and a piezo buzzer controlled by a GEMMA microcontroller. A light sensor adds to the fun, triggering the action only in dimly lit rooms. It’s a blast to wear and I’ve created a tutorial here. I’m still amazed that the light sensor worked so well hidden under the grommet of the hat. It’s so hard to detect!

Future Possibilities

Light sensors are already used for things that are day/night based, like window shades and lighting. Although my hat is playful, I could see a dark sensing hat as a practical item for a miner or biker. It works well in places where it is awkward to fumble for a switch, such as when wearing bulky gloves or when someone is on the move.

The fact that I’ve incorporated sound for the hat adds another level of potential. For someone blind, it could be helpful to have a navigation hat that creates musical tones when directions are correctly followed. Most often I’ve seen a haptic buzzer, which may be less noticeable, but harder to understand.