Just in time for Halloween, a Maker by the name of Michael Teeuw has created a slick costume entitled The Power Suit. Though the ATmega168 MCU powered suit originated as just a fun idea to win a theme night competition with a couple of friends, the end result was actually quite stunning!
“Every once in a while you are looking for a nonsense reason to build something completely useless but absolutely awesome. This year’s trip to the Belgian Ardennes is the number one reason to achieve my childhood dream,” Teeuw prefaced.
The Maker aspired to create a suit which was equipped with built-in sound effects and voiceover, full-color LEDs, real-time audio and manually controlled lighting, independently powered wings, Bluetooth connectivity, and to round out the Tony Stark getup, a mobile app to act as his J.A.R.V.I.S.
Based on a set of football shoulder pads and chest protector, the Iron Man-inspired suit was brought to life using an Arduino Pro Mini to serve as the brains of the system, a Bluetooth Low Energy shield to enable wireless communication, a series of Adafruit NeoPixels to add the visual effects, a spectrum analyzer to transform audio into usable data for the Arduino, and a step-down power converter to run the electronics.
Using the shoulder pads as its base, Teeuw added a pair of ATmega168 controlled servos under each of its flaps to create wings capable of lifting themselves up.
The Maker then attained 72 Adafruit NeoPixels. The center of the suit was fitted with a 24 pixel ring and two-8 pixel strips along the shoulders, while another two-16 pixel rings were situated around the eyes using Adafruit’s Kaleidoscope Eyes tutorial.
In order to enhance its next-gen appearance, Teeuw used a 300 million megawatt speaker connected to a 18 watt amplifier.
Additionally, in order to control the lighting effects, color and wings, the Maker tasked a Nintendo Wii nunchuck connected to the Arduino.
Rounding out Teeuw’s must-have function list was the suit’s coinciding iPhone app. Besides a futuristic designed interface, the iPhone app has five features:
- Playing looping background sounds
- Playing speech sounds with a manual or random trigger
- Playing sound effects with a manual or random trigger
- Playing speech sounds based on Bluetooth feedback from the suit
- Feedback about the current actions and connectivity in a console
Oh, and for those wondering as to whether or not Teeuw won the competition, you bethcha!
Inspired to go make a Power Suit of your own? You can find the detailed breakdown of Teeuw’s build here, and see it in action via the video below.