Have you ever wanted to have the coolness of a Supreme hoodie, but can’t stand to pay the Supreme price tag? Are you lacking in street cred? Do you want a way to instantly boost your popularity?

Introducing, the 8BIT HOOD. 8BIT hood combines the humble sweatshirt with RGB lighting to turn your clothing into a wirelessly controlled 32 x 16 LED matrix. Using an Adafruit Circuit Playground Express with a Adafruit BLE UART Friend, this contraption relies on the power of bluetooth to control it. Simply open up the Adafruit Bluefruit app, connect your device and tap on colour picker to set your LED Matrix to whatever colour you want! Or open up the control pad button and tap the numbered buttons to play animations on it. This model of the 8BIT Hood comes with the latest animation in the business yet: the rainbow! This works by changing the colour of each LED in the matrix using a sine wave in an endless loop.

This little gadget is packed within a pouch, meaning that everytime you have to wash the hood, you can slip it out, thus preventing water from interfering with the electronics.

The code of the project integrates the basic layout from the bluetooth lab we did, with a few minor modifications. Firstly, we imported the FastLED library which had multiple instructions on how to control LEDs. We also imported the avr program space as that would help us save our animations to the Circuit Playground Express. We tried to make animations using hexadecimal values for each individual LED, stored in an array, which required a high flash memory. This resulted in our choice of module, the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express, as this has a much higher flash memory than a regular Arduino Uno.

We did go through several roadblocks in the project, however. For one, using bluetooth was finicky as the connection tended to break very easily. Apart from this, we weren’t able to implement as many animations as we did not have a 32 x 16 matrix, rather, two 32 x 8 matrices. These matrices operated separately rather than together and this played around with the orientation of the animations that we were trying to portray. Nevertheless, we were able to push through these issues and now know our way forward. With a simple arduino program that inverts the orientation of the matrices, this issue can be fixed and this points towards the great scope of the project.

We’re working to seamlessly integrate a staple of your college wardrobe with one of the best ways to add pizazz to any engineering project. You don’t get better than the 8BIT HOOD.

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