Prototype Wearable LED Dance Harness

Contributors: bboyho
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Designing wearable electronics around a dancer is difficult depending on the movement. As a bboy, just about every part of the body is used on the floor.

Bboy Holding a Chair Freeze

So when planning for a show using wearable electronics, it needs to be:

  • Flexible
  • Durable
  • Secure
  • Quick to Connect
  • Safe
  • Light Up Throughout the Performance

On top of that, I needed to make enough for each student in my troupe. I decided make a harness to hold the electronics based on a backpack's shoulder straps. A button up shirt was used to diffuse the light. A bowtie and pocket square were added for detail.

For the scope of the tutorial, I'll be focusing on the harness to hold the LEDs and the electronics.

Electroluminescence (EL) vs Light Emitting Diode (LED)?

I debated with using either EL wire or LEDs. Each have different uses depending on the performance and lighting of the environment.

With the first wearable design for dance, I found that EL was harder to see with ambient lighting even with EL tape and panel. I was also limited to one color at a time. However, it required less power and it did have a different affect. For the second design, the LEDs were easier to see with the ambient light and I was able to select more than one color. The LEDs did require a little bit more power.

Mark I: EL Dance Shirt Mark II: LED Dance Harness