Maker decks out his wingsuit with 300 LEDs for a night jump


We’re not quite sure what it is, but there’s certainly something magical about watching hundreds of LEDs fly brilliantly through a night sky.


In preparation for this most recent jump, skydiver Nikko Mamallo embedded his Squirrel FUNK wingsuit with 10 Adafruit NeoPixel strips — three in each wing, four in the tail. As you can imagine, with 300 animated LEDs in total, this made for one unique experience. (Not to mention, countless “UFO sightings” from onlookers.)

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According to Mamallo, the entire build took approximately two months to go from mere concept to flight. The LEDs were programmed using an Adafruit Pro Trinket (ATmega328). The Maker also added a NeoPixel status light to the board, a trigger switch to start the LED animations inside his wingsuit belly pouch, and a killswitch in his glove to turn the lights off/on if necessary.

“Though I built this with the skydiving environment in mind, there are a few things I’d change for a V2 to make it a little more robust and durable as I did break one of the strips on the daytime test flight when I crushed it sitting on the floor of the caravan and I did have a data short on my left wing from a loose data cable,” Mamallo writes.

Footage of the late night dive from 13,000’ was captured using a GoPro Hero 3+ Black and a GoPro Hero 4 — which you can watch below.

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