Jewel Hair Stick – Wearable Tech



I have a strong interest in Japanese culture and used to volunteer as a gardener at Philadelphia’s Shofuso Japanese House and Garden. I can tell you that seasons are very important, whether you look at Japanese art or even tea ceremony. This project gets its start from the beautiful Kanzashi hair ornaments worn by geishas that celebrate the different seasons through cloth flowers. It uses a Jewel NeoPixel and GEMMA microcontroller. The Jewel lends itself well to the flower motif and coding allows for many different colors of flowers. In fact, most of my time was spent playing with RGB color combinations to reach a moving palette I liked. There’s an interesting mix of old and new on the piece like a lacquered up-cycled chopstick, embroidery and crystal beads. You can tell I was very motivated by the circular electronic pieces. Check out my tutorial here.


Future Possibilities

Many of the best LED fashions are coming from Asian countries, so it is only a matter of time before they do these Kanzashi. On the practical side, they could be worn at night for safety as well as glamour. More advanced versions could offer means of communication or lighting up as friendship indicators. Because the Jewel Neopixel offers so many pattern options, it could also be helpful on a badge, especially when lighting conditions aren’t good and you need to locate a fellow team member.