Our RADLab team was able to participate in this year’s Make Fashion event at WestJet’s Calgary headquarters. Using technology that we’ve been incorporating into our other projects, we were able to create an interactive jacket that responds to UHF RFID tags.

The jacket was conceptualized through a collaboration between Laura Dempsey, Hannah Newton and the RADLab (specifically Dan Damron, Chris Zaal & Ben Reed). We wanted to create a reactive experience that would both engage the dancer and the audience. We spent about a month soldering and programming the art piece, and the result was spectacular.

The Jacket was composed of the following electronics:

  • Thingmagic M6e UHF RFID Reader
  • Beaglebone Black
  • 2x 5V 3A regulators
  • 2x 7.4V LiPo Battery Packs
  • TP-Link WiFi Dongle
  • WS2811 Addressable LEDs
  • Teensy 3.0

Our Beaglebone Black was running Linux Debian and we loaded a custom version of the Thingmagic API to interact with the reader over a serial port. Communications to the Teensy 3.0 was done through a second serial port and a simple API that included antenna number, Tag color and RSSI value, which affected the brightness of the LEDs.

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