Wearable technology at its funnest

We are excited to finally unveil our first foray into wearable electronics: the Tinker Tie! We are launching this Beta edition of Tinker Tie because we want to get it right, and we think you can help! We want Tinker Tie to be a bright, colorful, hackable, customizable and educational device makers can really go to town on, but also a great fashion accessory to take to your next EDM concert!

What is Tinker Tie?

The Tinker Tie works by controlling the amount of Red, Green and Blue (RGB) light emitted from each of the 28 LEDs mounted to its surface. A microcontroller (Pro Trinket) at the back of the tie can be programmed to send color changes and animations to the LEDs. The data is received by the first LED, then sent through to the rest of the LEDs in a zig-zag pattern. Because of a special chip built into each LED, we can control an entire array of lights from only one data pin! (It’s basically magic). An integrated rechargeable battery pack powers the Tinker Tie for hours on end! Our current generation, the Tinker Tie Beta, features a black circuit board and a programmable capacitive touch button.

 Tinker Tie Alpha (previous generation) Front View

Tinker Tie Alpha (previous generation) Front View

Rechargeable over USB

The Tinker Tie can last over 20 hours on a single charge! Thanks to a roomy 500mAh Lithium Polymer rechargeable battery pack the Tinker Tie’s power source is lightweight, can last up to 1000 cycles, and charges very quickly. Simply plug the Tinker Tie in by USB, and you're good to go!

Ludicrously Bright

The Tinker Tie can get extremely bright! Thanks to its 28 RGB LEDs, the Tinker Tie is essentially blinding at anything close to maximum brightness. It’s difficult to look at even at half brightness! In all our shots of the Tinker Tie, we need to keep the brightness below 10% so we don’t overload the camera! You’ll be able to easily adjust the brightness of the Tinker Tie in the Arduino IDE to suit your needs.

In collaboration with some really smart kids.

Atom Computer has partnered with FIRST Robotics Competition Team 5209: Rectify. This group of San Diego high school students participate in an annual challenge to build a robot in six weeks, then compete against other teams and schools on a national level. A portion of all proceeds from the Tinker Tie Beta and all future Tinker Ties will be donated to Team Rectify.

Arduino Compatible

An Adafruit Industries Pro Trinket acts as the brains of the operation. It’s like a tiny wearable version of the much larger Arduino microcontrollers. That means that you can program it straight from the Arduino IDE! The Tinker Tie accepts new programming over a micro USB port built into the Pro Trinket, so there’s no need for any special connectors or pins. It’s plug and play!

 Tinker Tie Beta Back View

Tinker Tie Beta Back View

Programmable

Programming the Tinker Tie is extremely easy! Using the Arduino IDE and the Adafruit NeoPixel library, you can create nearly any custom effect you can imagine. From rainbows to solid color cycling to full-fledged animation, the NeoPixel library is a well documented and user-friendly way to program your Tinker Tie. We will be writing and posting our own cool animations and effects for backers to download, and encourage backers to share their own with everyone using our upcoming website.

Low Cost

We made a great effort to bring this cool little project to you guys for as cheaply as possible without sacrificing quality. The result is an extremely affordable electronics project for you or as a gift to a friend. As we develop this project further, we will do everything in our power to deliver Tinker Ties at a price anyone can afford, and you can help!

Educational and Fun!

The Tinker Tie is an excellent educational tool! Whether you’re assembling one of our kits or programming a new and colorful pattern, the Tinker Tie is a computer science and electrical engineering project you can wear! As an introduction to programming in Arduino, nothing is more satisfying than seeing you code bring pixels to life and being able to show it off to your friends! If you choose one of our DIY kits, you can learn valuable surface mount (SMD) soldering skill that will be a great help in the future (It’s not hard, we promise!). We will also be providing instructional videos and guides to help you get started on assembling or programming your Tinker Tie.

 Tinker Tie Alpha PCB Design

Tinker Tie Alpha PCB Design

 Team Rectify in their Pit at the 2016 San Diego Regional with FIRST Co-Founder Woodie Flowers   

Team Rectify in their Pit at the 2016 San Diego Regional with FIRST Co-Founder Woodie Flowers

 

For additional resources, including a copy of the example code, and an outline of the board, please visit our GitHub page here.

 

Instructions on how to assemble your Tinker Tie can be found on the GitHub page or by clicking here.