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    Content by Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson
    E-Textile Tailor Shop by KOBAKANT
    The following institutions have funded our research and supported our work:

    Since 2020, Hannah is guest professor of the Spiel&&Objekt Master's program at the University of Performing Arts Ernst Busch in Berlin

    From 2013-2015 Mika was a guest professor at the eLab at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee

    From July - December 2013 Hannah was a researcher at the UdK's Design Research Lab

    From 2010-2012 Mika was a guest researcher in the Smart Textiles Design Lab at The Swedish School of Textiles

    From 2009 - 2011 Hannah was a graduate student in the MIT Media Lab's High-Low Tech research group led by Leah Buechley

    In 2009 Hannah and Mika were both research fellows at the Distance Lab

    Between 2003 - 2009 Hannah and Mika were both students at Interface Cultures
    We support the Open Source Hardware movement. All our own designs published on this website are released under the Free Cultural Works definition

    DIY 3V Step-Up (Joule Thief)

    There is an interesting tutorial for how to make 3V step-up circuit by using simple component from. The project is called Joule Thief. With this module, you can light up LED (it needs 3V) with single AAA battery (1.5V).

    Instruction Link: 


    Schematic for Joule Thief


    I have tried their tutorial, and it works wonderfully! Unfortunately I did not really take step-by-step pictures.. It is quite amazing that you can light LED with single AAA battery. I wonder how much current it can pull also.
    Next step is to implement fabric embed-able version…. will be coming up soon.

    7 Comments so far

    1. cyberloco on September 12th, 2009

      This is really, really cool =D. Step-up seems to be a lot useful for battery powered projects. I am interested on it. Cheers!

    2. Alex on September 20th, 2010

      Hi, i´mt trying to build one, but i´m new to electronics, what should I change to use 3V coin batteries joule thief instead of only 1.5??

      Thanks for any help

    3. Damen Roy on October 8th, 2011

      Today is a great day for me. I have built one of these nifty devices. Now its on to build bigger and better things with all this “Free Energy” Concepts floating around. “Cheers to you my fellow human race!”

    4. simple circuit won't work.. on September 30th, 2012

      […] Today, 01:06 PM I assumed everyone here would know the schematic.. but here it is, anyway http://www.kobakant.at/DIY/?p=172 I'm afraid I couldn't take a better quality picture. Damn camera. everything is pushed in properly, […]

    5. DTK on July 7th, 2013


      No such thing as free energy. You are stepping up the voltage at the cost of stepping down the amount of current. The joule thief just allows you to step up the output of a battery for longer by depleting it further into its depleted area, so it still registers as its nominal voltage output. Essentially, it lets you see a battery as “full” until it is 80% used up, rather than 25% used up (a normal dry cell puts out power at lower voltage until it is enough below its rated voltage to not be usable, even though it has 75% capacity left — this just steps up the output, letting you run it drier).

    6. DTK on July 8th, 2013

      I realize my explanation may be a bit obtuse, let me explain by analogy. Think of the battery as being like an opaque bottle of cloudy liquid, like milk. Your battery-power appliance is a picky drinker, and doesn’t like milk that has been drunk down below the 3/4 line. The Joule thief is like a balloon in the bottom of the milk; as you pour milk out, you fill with air, so it looks like the bottle is almost full. This takes up a little bit of milk (you take a sip to have the energy to blow up the balloon). This is great, and keeps your picky kid-brother appliance thinking the bottle is fresh and almost full, until you burst the balloon and he sees it is actually only 20% left. Fewer mostly-filled-but-not-enough-for-picky-little-brother bottles are wasted.

    7. Helpful Hints on July 12th, 2013

      Hi! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and
      say I genuinely enjoy reading your posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with
      the same topics? Thanks for your time!

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