Adshirt is a body-mounted device that transforms you into a monetization platform. Companies compete for your advertising space through online bids, and whoever wins has their ad displayed on your body!
Adshirt in use
Our website: BuyAdsOn.Me
Adshirt was the final project for Critical Making, a graduate class at UC Berkeley. The project is a critique on our relationship with advertising: we wear so many branded T-shirts, so why shouldn't we make money on our own ad space?
Once the team had settled on the idea of a monetizeable LED display, I went to work as the main hardware designer to draw up some concepts. I started with selecting our major hardware components:
- Raspberry Pi Model B+ Version 2
- Adafruit 32x32 RGB LED Matrix, 6mm pitch
- Adafruit RGB Matrix HAT + Real Time Clock
- RAVPower 16750mAh 5V Battery, 4.5A
The Pi served as the main microcontroller, and the Adafruit Hat allowed for easy communication between the Pi and the LED matrix. The battery sourcing was an initial challenge: the display has 1024 RGB LEDs, which are capable of a combined peak current draw of 4A!
I started with a preliminary wiring diagram, to make sure I had thought out all the connectors the team would need to order.
In order to connect two male IDC cables together, I had to create a custom double-sided PCB to connect the pins of two female headers. This could have been accomplished with just wires, but it would have been messy! The schematic was created in Eagle:
Finally we were able to put together the full wiring diagram:
Once I had the wiring and components figured out, I moved on to organizing the parts in 3D space. Our objective wanted to mount the display under a T-shirt on either the chest or the back, which would make it inconspicuous until an ad appeared. To accomplish this I decided to split the display from the rest of the electronics.
First conceptual sketch of the electronics enclosure
After I had the components in hand, I modeled them so we could more accurately design the enclosure. The following photos show how the enclosure evolved:
Just the microcontroller
Adding the battery pack
Experimenting with a vertical orientation
The final layout
I modeled the LED matrix display, and designed a plastic part to protect it and smooth the sharp creases formed when it is put under a T-shirt. This part also allowed attachment of velcro straps, which mount the display to the user’s chest.
Have more questions? Take a look at the long-form report for this project: