Getting Started with the LilyPad

This page provides an introduction to Protosnap LilyPad and using it with ManyLabs lessons. If you need help with any steps, please contact us at

Important Don't snap the sensors and the board apart yet. Later when you want to use the LilyPad in your own projects you can snap apart the components.


Here's some basic terminology:

  • microcontroller: This is a small computer designed for interacting with physical hardware; There's probably one in your microwave and your alarm clock
  • Arduino: This is a circuit board with a built-in microcontroller. They make it easier to work with microcontrollers, and there are several types
  • LilyPad Arduino: A type of Arduino that was designed to be used in wearable electronics or other projects that involve textiles. It can use conductive thread to connect to sensors and other devices.
  • sketch: this is a program that runs on an Arduino
  • WireGarden: this is a software system for communicating with an Arduino from your web browser

This is a ProtoSnap LilyPad. The LilyPad Arduino is the large circular part. The other pieces are sensors and other devices.

Important Don't place the Arduino or sensors on a metal surface when they are connected to power.

Install the WireGarden Browser Plugin

To communicate with the LilyPad from the web browser, we use a plugin. If you haven't already installed the WireGarden browser plugin, follow the instructions here to do that.

Install FTDI Drivers

The LilyPad doesn't have a USB connector on the board, so to communicate with it we need to connect another device called an FTDI Basic.

Before you can use the FTDI Basic to communincate with the LilyPad, you need to install drivers for it. You can download the drivers for your operating system here. There are installation guides here if you need help installing the drivers. You can also contact us at

Using the LilyPad

Now you're ready to start using the LilyPad. The LilyPad Introduction lesson covers connecting the FTDI Basic to the LilyPad, along with what each of the attached sensors and devices do.

You can also use the Data Flow Editor to generate sketches for the LilyPad, or the Arduino Programmer if you want to go straight to the code.