FLORA has onboard power switch connected to 2A power FET for safe and efficient battery on/off control. Often FETs are not included in wearable board designs which leads to switch failure as small SMT switches are rated for only 20mA current use. The FLORA has an onboard 3.3v 150mA regulator with a protection diode and USB fuse so that the microcontroller voltage is consistent and can power common 3.3v modules and sensors.
We spent a lot of time on the power supply because the FLORA power system is specifically designed to allow easy control and power of a large quantity of addressable NeoPixels. Flora can easily drive 50 pixels directly from the onboard power supply, or up to 500 with the pixels externally powered by a separate 5V supply.
FLORA is fabric friendly– all the components on board are flush to the PCB and won’t snag delicate garments (it does not use FTDI headers).
FLORA is extremely beginner-friendly – it is difficult to destroy the FLORA by connecting a battery backwards due to polarized connector and protection diodes. The on-board regulator means that even connecting a 9V battery will not result in damage or tears.
The FLORA has 4 indicator LEDs: power good, digital signal LED for bootloader feedback, data rx/tx. Also onboard is an ICSP connector for easy reprograming for advanced users.
There are 14 sewing tap pads for attachment and electrical connections. Data buses are interleaved with power and ground pads for easy module and sensor attachments without worrying about overlapping traces which are not possible with conductive thread.
The FLORA works with the Adafruit-fixed Leonardo-like bootloader and will work with any future released Leonardo-compatible bootloader. FLORA is currently using our bootloader and Adafruit USB vendor ID.
The FLORA is not the first wearable Arduino / Arduino-compatible. Leah Buechley s Lilypad was developed in 2007 and while they are both round, FLORA is a completely new platform that works seamlessly with the FLORA accessories.
The FLORA is made in NYC at Adafruit, it was designed by Limor Fried (Ladyada), Adafruit’s founder and engineer. Adafruit has a proven track record of providing 100+ high-quality libraries for Arduino/Arduino IDE, hundreds of tutorials, open-source code and contributions to the Arduino project. Ladyada was a member of the MIT wearables group and likes to sew.