Lulu Monitor: June

This post summarizes the developments we’ve made on the Lulu project during June 2018. The WORTH funding we received to help fund this work requires that we submit monthly reports, so our developments are documented as responses to their Monthly Monitor questions.


1. Provide an updated status of the degree of compliance with the expected objectives. What stage have you reached? What outcomes have you reached?

This month we finalized two varients of the Lulu Star design (circle and triangle) and have ordered the first test batch (30pcs) from Seeedstduio’s PCB Manufacturing service.

Lulu STAR circle
Lulu STAR triangle

2. What are the key activities you have completed during the last month?

We had one skype call on which we discussed various design issues:

board shapes
sewing hole shapes/size and placement

Less Waste

PADS (sewable + bus)
2-sewing-hole contacts idea
5mm bus spacing idea
solder-knot+hole idea

how big can the gap between tube and solder pad be?
how thin/thick can the PCB be to have nice fit/feel?
what size/shape should the solder pads for LED be?

Addressable LEDs
what are our options?

Please read this post for full details with sketches and images:

PCB manufacturing
We compared various online PCB manufacturing services. Factors we looked at were: PCB thickness, colour of soldermask, cost…

PCB Manufacturers:
Seeed Studio (made in China) >>
Dirty PCBs (made in China) >> >>
Frizzing (made in Germany) >>
Environmental standards >>

Lulu Gantt

Lulu Gantt

Mika has worked on the lulu logo design.
Lulu logo v1

Maurin finalized two varients of the Lulu Star design (circle and triangle) and have ordered the first test batch (30pcs) from Seeedstduio’s PCB Manufacturing service.

Mika and Hannah are still exploring different board shapes and sewing hole options for a first series of Lulu Daisy designs using the WS2912 (Neopixel) addressable RGB LED.

Lulu shape variation sketches
Lulu shape and hole variations

The Word is Spreading
People in the e-textile community are becoming aware of the Lulu and already asking us to purchase some.
Lulu in China

Present Lulu at WEAR IT Festival Berlin.

3. Have you encountered any problem during the last month? If so, please list them below along with the respective countermeasures.

PROBLEM: manufacturing of 3mm thick PCBs is more expensive than we expected.
COUNTERMEASURE: order less quantity for first tests, manufacturing first tests in thinner PCB material (1.6mm, 2mm)

PROBLEM: WORTH funding is not enough to cover full-time work for any of us so Lulu remains a side-project for all of us. This makes progress slow. Also the time-gaps of 2-3 weeks for manufacturing PCBs puts gaps in this process. Because of all this it is hard to estimate how many itterations we will need and how long our funding period should be.
COUNTERMEASURE: If it is okay with WORTH we will update you in August 2018 month with more detailed on this.

PROBLEM: sourcing 2mm inner diameter solderable tube with consistent inner diameter to match metal end-cap for bundled optic fibers
COUNTERMEASURE: keep looking for tube, but also work on alternative solutions on optic fiber end that do not necessitate exact fit.

4. What results do you want to achieve over the next month?

In July 2018 we plan to test the first two Lulu Star boards during the E-Textile Summercamp:

Based on feedback from these first tests we plan to finalize the Lulu Daisy designs (different board shapes and sewing hole variations) and order these in time for testing at the KOBA School of Wicked Fabrics (August 2018):

5. How is your project applying the insights and advice of the mentoring programme you are being coached on?

Ricaro will help us collect information about how different existing manufacturing/distributors models such as Sparkfun, Adafruit, Seeedstudio pick up new designs and add them to their offer.
– How do we approach such companies with the Lulu design?
– What kinds of royalty models are there? (do we even want to receive royalties on this design?)
– Do we need to worry about Certificates (CE, ISO, RoHS)?
– Do we need to look into Licensing, Legal stuff to insure our design stays open?

We would like find out more about how WORTH considered it’s ability to help fund business models where upfront (public/private?) funding covers the development of open source designs that can be released openly without having to be monetized to back-fund the work that went into them.