Ran across this today - http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.20603
looks like it could be interesting if you hacked the protocol of the LEDs on the shirt, turn it into a scrolling sign or whatever you want. Perhaps with a lilypad. The ribbon cable is 6 to 8 wires wide (hard to tell in the picture) so it should be something serialish like SPI or may I2C.
Has anyone tried that or should I just put that on the humogo list of project ideas to do someday?
I have thought about something similar as i saw that one the first time..
From what i see its 6 Cables + one Red.. so i guess it is some serial interface plus VCC and GND... also that would be (for me as total noob) besised I2C the only way to drive ICs to drive those 88 LEDs with such an low amount of cables...
I guess it is possible to modify this and regarding the price one doesnt loose much simply trying it. I guess we could learn what happens there once we open that small black box in there.. My bet is on it having just a minimal stockpile of chips in it for decoding sounds and driving some Serial stuff further up the cable... and further up that line should be several port expander ICs which are - normally (and not for me!) - easy to use... so... what i try to say in this somewhat staggering attempt to write something in english at 2am is, that it should be fairly easy to hack this to do what one wants. Taking in account that it has this nice box you wont even need a lilypad. And besides this - it seems to use a standard connector also a small feature ;0)
And it looks ridiculously inexpensive!
Um. First, this is EL rather than LED. What you have is MOST LIKELY is several (4-6?) EL panels each containing some relatively large number of the individual image elements (aliens!), driven by a simple 4-6 circuit EL sequencer. How good it looks depends on how creatively they managed to position those relatively small numbers of individually controllable sections.
Is it worth the $13? Hell yeah. I pay more than that for T-shirts without any blinky lights!
Is it easily hackable to do more complex things? Probably not.