Video: Mel Li talks robotic exoskeletons

Cyberpunk films and novels are often 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 noted in Burning Chrome, “the street finds its own uses for things.” Although Gibson wrote those words way back in 1981, they more than aptly describe the cyberpunk build designed by Maker Mel Li, Ph.D that was showcased at Atmel’s 2014 Bay Area Maker Faire booth.

According to Mel, the Costume is an original design inspired by the cyberpunk/fantasy genre work of artists including Masumune Shirow, Eric Canete, Joe Benitez and various modern gaming concept art.

More specifically, the assembly is made from over 60 parts designed in Solidworks and sewn/cut/glued/laser-cut/heat-formed using various techniques.

The rather impressive costume includes color changing LEDs on the spine and front that are controlled by Arduino boards with Atmel AVR and ARM microcontrollers and onboard RGB controllers (respectively) – powered by 16 AA batteries, 1 LiPo rechargeable battery, two 2032 coin cells and one 9-volt battery.

In total, says Mel, there are more than 70 LEDs on the entire costume and over 60 parts.

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