Atmel goes cyberpunk with Adafruit

Cyberpunk novels and films are typically set in post-industrial dystopias characterized by extraordinary cultural ferment and the use of technology in ways never anticipated by its original creators. As William Gibson aptly noted in Burning Chrome, “the street finds its own uses for things.”

Recently, the AdaFruit crew designed a pair of goggles for cyberpunks, steampunks and yes, Daft Punks. Officially dubbed “Kaleidoscope Eyes,” key components for the headware include NeoPixel rings, an Atmel-powered (ATtiny85Trinket (or Atmel-powered Gemma) and a battery (lithium-polymer or 3x AA battery case). Heat-shrink tubing is recommended for insulating the wire connections, as is diffuser lenses for the goggles which help soften the light from LEDs. The latter can simply be cut from paper or fashioned with white acrylic.

“This is a soldering project, albeit a small one. You will need the common soldering paraphernalia of a soldering iron, solder, wire (20 to 26 gauge, either stranded or solid) and tools for cutting and stripping wire,” AdaFruit’s Phillip Burgess explained in a detailed tutorial on the subject.

“You’ll need some method of securing the electronics inside the goggles. Hot-melt glue (with a glue gun) works well for this. Watch your fingers! Tape could be used for a quick and temporary setup. Some steps require perseverance. You will need to provide your own; we do not sell patience in the shop.”

Burgess also confirmed that Makers can swap an Atmel-powered Gemma for the Atmel-powered Trinket.

“You won’t need the extra JST cable for the LiPo battery — Gemma has that plug built-in,” he said. “[Remember], the board is a bit wider and might be more challenging to fit, but one option is to show it off rather than conceal it, mounting the board on the outside of the goggles near one temple. Geek pride!”

Interested in learning more about building “Kaleidoscope Eyes” with Adafruit and Atmel? You can check out Adafruit’s detailed tutorial here, although Burgess warns the project is quite challenging.

“Small parts are used in confined spaces, and special tools and techniques are used. While not overtly dangerous, there’s still some potential for damage or injury,” he added. [So be sure to] read through everything first to decide if you really want to tackle this. Young makers should read through with a parent to help decide – [and] we [certainly do] have other wearable electronics projects that are less daunting.”

5 thoughts on “Atmel goes cyberpunk with Adafruit

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