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

Electronics Enclosure

Display module

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:

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:

Eagle schematic


Finally we were able to put together the full wiring diagram:

3D Design

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:

Full Report