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Can a Fashion Statement Help You Breathe Better Air?

Nobody ever said that data visualisation had to be static or boring, and the Clean Air Necklace definitely takes that idea to the next level! This dynamic build combines clever modular design, 3D printing, and 185 addressable LEDs with the DesignSpark Environmental Sensor Development Kit to create a wearable that’s as useful as it is gorgeous! But don’t take my word for it; watch the build video and see for yourself!

Feeling inspired and want to create your own wearable pollution detector? Read on!

To begin with, you can find all of the 3D files and code for the necklace on my Github! I have provided STLs for all of the individual pieces, as well as CAD files for both the necklace and the sensor belt clips that I designed to enable wearable remote use of the ESDK. There is also a .3MF provided with the required settings to create the marvellous diffusion effect in the clear panels. This can be opened easily in PrusaSlicer and further panels imported from there.

For the electronics components, virtually any microcontroller with an ESP32 enabled chip will do, as well as any addressable LEDs, but to take advantage of the compact electronics enclosure I designed as well as the code I wrote, I recommend using the same components I did. This includes:

In addition to the electronics, you will also need a few other key components to create the necklace. Most importantly will be a soft, flexible filament to print in; this can be any TPU or TPE you desire, however, I used Recreus Filaflex 82A in Black and Clear. I would not recommend going much harder than this or you may find the print uncomfortable to wear. Softer should work nicely but be harder to print in, so proceed as you find works best for you!

Lastly, you’ll want to procure some fire retardant polyester wadding for the diffusers, which can be found in a wide range of places online and is sometimes sold under the name Dacron. You don’t need a great deal of this and it is technically optional, but recommended as it creates a wonderful diffusion effect with the clear panels!

In addition to the traditional electronics related tools, a 3D printing pen and hot knife, or similar, is required to fuse the pieces of TPU together. Remember; TPU is chemically resistant and cannot be glued or stuck together reliably through traditional means!

As I stated in the video, this project is not for beginners and requires a fair amount of prior knowledge and confidence with electronics and 3D printing to proceed safely. Please take care when tackling your own project!

If you enjoyed this project and video and want to see more like it, make sure to follow my work on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Patreon, where I am always exploring and challenging the intersection where art and technology meet!

Allie Katz is a dual national non-binary artist, content creator and creative technologist who’s been diving headlong into their passions as long as they can remember. They are the face of Katz Creates, a channel devoted to the exploration of the part of the Venn diagram where analog and digital overlap, to combining art and technology in new and exciting ways, and to inspiring everyone who feels a bit uncertain or left behind.