Color My Skirt: Part II of V

The Design of a Dream

It was after receiving a ticket my first big tech conference, Google I/O, that Bradlie and I started thinking seriously about the light up skirt.

“So I was thinking, instead of making a skirt that just lights up, it should say something. It should speak to the fact that women belong in the tech industry, and speak up for all the under represented communities in tech.”

To this Bradlie responded, “Great idea Kate, but how do you figure we should do that?”

“By making a poodle skirt? But instead of a poodle aplique, it’ll be some representation of a woman in tech. Maybe it’ll be like one of those neon signs that changes depending on which lights are on. We could even ask to use the ItWasNeverADress campaign that the amazing Tania Katan co-created with Axosoft.”

That of course never came to fruition for a number of reasons, but it gave us somewhere to start.

During further discussion, and following the purchase of a whiteboard, we decided on a design… or so we thought. It was going to be a woman on a laptop, where the cords came out the back and lit-up like there was energy moving in the cords. (Apparently, I didn’t think to take a picture of that design, but hopefully you can imagine it.)

At the time Bradlie was thinking of using traditional LED lights, and she tried to explain the intricacies of them to me many times… and I almost always responded, “What do you mean I can only have three colors?”

It was only after further research that we stumbled onto adafruit industries NeoPixels, and a whole new world opened up for us! Now we could individually address each LED light, give it almost any color of the spectrum, and control it all from a phone using Bluetooth LE using Adafuit’s Bluefruit LE!

So we ordered the parts, and Bradlie rigged up a prototype circuit for me. So that I could start coding while she thought a bit longer about what the skirt would look like and how to get it to drape (semi) properly.

It was at one of our favorite places in Tempe, the locally owned Aloha Yogurt, that we had our next epiphany. …

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