The placement of parts was not as hard as I thought it would be, especially since we went from twenty individual vibrating pads to twelve coupled vibrating pads. I designed the vest based on one of my own patterns. I added additional inside pockets, eyelets for the wires to pass through the lining, and adjustable bands around the back. I was able to complete the outer vest and lining separately before I was handed all the tech parts. After most of the wires had been soldered to the boards, I was able to start sewing the parts down to the lining fabric. The lilypad, lipower, usb connection board, and all twelve vibe boards were sewn on by hand.
Constructing the strip carrying the vibe boards was the first priority. I decided to use an interfaced cotton for the outer shell and a headliner foam for the inside for cushiony support. I attached velcro to the back vest liner so that the strip could be easily removed. The lilypad was placed on the back below the left shoulder so that the wires would remain relatively short between the lilypad and the vibe boards. The battery and lipower fit well in one of the front pockets with wires running from the lipower out one of the eyelets in the pocket liner, around the waist of the jacket, and up to the lilypad.
Once everything was sewn down, I completed the vest like I would a normal piece of clothing. The sewing was a little more difficult since I had to be extra careful in order to avoid machine sewing or ironing wires and parts. When the project started to resemble the likes of a vest, only then did I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am grateful that I was able to work with such a talented team of engineers on this garment. For me, one of the hardest challenges of the vest was keeping the design from being taken over by the technology. Now that the vest is near complete, I think my design sensibility prevailed while most of the parts were kept hidden. Although this competition was geared toward the deaf community, I think anyone could enjoy wearing this one-of-a-kind garment