Eight finalists use ground-breaking wearable technology in “Get Closer” Challenge - element14 Community tracks competitors building wearable electronics projects using Adafruit FLORA platform

element14 has chosen eight competitors out of 121 entries from around the world to build wearable electronics projects as part of its “Get Closer” Challenge.

“Get Closer” is encouraging design engineers and hobbyists alike to design a wearable project, using the Adafruit FLORA platform, and document their progress on the element14 Community.

From now through mid-September, competitors will develop their suggested creations and document their progress through blog posts, videos and designs, which will be shared on the Arduino group within the element14 Community.

“We were thrilled with the response during the enrolment period and are looking forward to the results of the Get Closer Challenge,” said Global Head of Community Dianne Kibbey. “We’re excited to see what the finalists develop and how these ideas spark new ones.”

Adafruit Director of Wearable Electronics Becky Stern added, “Our participation in the ‘Get Closer’ Challenge has provided great opportunities to engage with makers, and we can’t wait to see the finalists bring their fun, unique project suggestions to life.”

Estimates show consumers will spend between $6 billion and $50 billion* on wearable technology in the next five years. First-generation wearables such as the Pebble watch and Google Glass have paved the way, and the FLORA provides a more accessible way for anyone to start creating their own wearable technology products. Clothing that can recognise and relay the user’s location, environment or status will allow a wide variety of new industrial applications and personal well-being solutions.

The Challenge will also be covered weekly on the new, live Wearable Electronics Show with Becky Stern from Adafruit. Each week, the program will delve into the world of wearables and answer viewer questions, announce a discount code for the Adafruit store and explore wearable components, techniques, special materials and home projects. The show appears on YouTube every Wednesday at 2 p.m. EST (7 p.m. BST, 8 p.m. CET).

Winners of the Challenge, who will be announced on September 20th, will receive a grand prize of one Arduino Robot and a handmade wearable electronics project by Adafruit. The finalists, as well as their location and design proposal, are listed below:

· Katie Dumont (U.K.) – FLORA-powered compass sleeve

· Leslie Birch (U.S.) – FLORAbrella with rain and rainbow-inspired light shows

· Linda Kaspers (Netherlands) – Color-teaching children’s camera

· Ryan Cain (U.S.) – FLORA baseball cap to track travel destinations

· Chris Carter (U.S.) – Light-up costumes controlled by the FLORA microcontroller

· Catherine Jones (U.K.) – Wearable feedback device for London Science Museum

· Alex May (U.S.) – GPS glove

· Bill Shaw (U.S.) – Roller coaster evaluation; geocaching; and health monitoring

The Adafruit FLORA kits can be purchased in the U.S. from Newark.com and in Europe from Farnell.com. Customers who purchase the kits are also invited to participate in the project. element14 offers design engineers a space to share project concepts with 190,000 members in its award-winning element14 Community, the first of its kind. Additionally, the industry’s most comprehensive online knowledge resource for electronic design, the Knode on element14, is a first stop for any engineer undertaking a design project with a development kit.

*Market reports from IMS conservatively set the wearable market at $6bn by 2016, and Credit Suisse predicts the “mega trend” could be worth $50bn in five years.

About Farnell element14
Farnell element14 is a high-service distributor of technology products and solutions for electronic system design, maintenance and repair. Bringing together the latest products, services, and development software, all connected to an innovative online engineering community where purchasers and engineers can access peers and experts, a wide range of independent technical information and helpful tools. Whether researching a new technology, designing an electronic product, or looking for parts to repair an existing system, Farnell is the trusted source to find the answers and parts you need to keep your project on the fast track, right from the start.

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August 2013

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