I made this LED suit. It's made out of about a hundred button pins I designed that each have 6 RGB LEDs. You can find more information about the button pins here. They are all networked to share power and each button pin can send messages to their neighbors.
Each pin has a button, and pushing this button will generate a new pattern randomly (flash type, flashing speed, base colors, color ranges, ...). The pattern also has a propagation speed at which it sends the pattern information to its neighbors, who will then pass it to theirs. The pattern spreads on the suit organically. There is no central brain on the suit. Any single button pin can fail, or connections can break and the rest of the suit will keep working. It is a distributed system.
The pins are velcroed on the suit so it can be washed.
The PWM and UART are both software.
The suite was for Burning Man and present at BM2011.