Illumi-cize Reinvented

Friday, February 12, 2016
Maureen G. Botros, Kansas Junior Academy of Science, Wichita, KS
Illumi-cize is the culmination of a year of revisions to my original invention, also named Illumi-cize, which I presented in the AJAS/AAAS meeting in 2015. Inspired by Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, I decided to tackle the problem of childhood obesity by focusing specifically on kids’ lack of physical exercise, by capitalizing on the power of fashion. Illumi-cize consists of five different accessories, a bow, necklace, tutu, t-shirt, and belt, each covered in LEDs, as well as a pulse sensor that clips to the ear. The pulse sensor detects heart rate and classifies it into one of five intensity levels. As heart rate increases, accessories progressively illuminate. When target heart rate is reached, a value customized by the user utilizing the Illumi-cize website, all the accessories blink on and off. Since presenting at AJAS/AAAS last year, I reconstructed every accessory using integrated LEDs (rather than individual LEDs wired together) to increase response and feedback speed. I tested out various LED constructions and ultimately incorporated addressable sealed LEDs into the belt and bow, sewed LillyTiny LEDs into the t-shirt and tutu, and for the necklace, a pendant of laser printed acrylic backlit with LEDs. I replaced the bulky inconvenient arm piece that housed a large Arduino on the original design with a concealed belt buckle-sized brain unit thereby easing exercise and eliminating exposed wiring. Unlike the original version that was wired as a whole to the Arduino, each accessory can now be added or taken away individually from the ensemble by simply unplugging it. I reworked the coding on the Arduino computer chip such that Illumi-cize now immediately and continuously recalculates an average heart rate value. This allowed for narrower heart rate ranges with decreased lag time and increased accuracy and reliability.  With the newly reinvented Illumi-cize, the lights shine, every time.