Harder, better, faster, brighter!
If there is one musical group that has inspired more electronics projects than any other, Daft Punk has to be it. Besides just producing awesome electronic tunes, the helmets that they wear are filled with blinking lights. Adafruit’s latest helmet build, which is the brainchild of the Ruiz brothers, features a replica of Thomas Bangalter’s helmet and uses two microcontrollers for lighting control.
Possibly the most impressive thing about this wearable is the work it takes to 3D print something like this. One not experienced with this type of machine might expect to press a button and see a shiny new headpiece to simply pop out of the machine, after printing, the three sections had to be joined together, painted, and sanded in several steps. Additionally, the visor was made separately, and heated to bend it into place.
Of course, the helmet wouldn’t be much fun without an array of blinking LEDs. The visor lights are provided by a NeoPixel strip, cut into two layers and embedded in the helmet. Animations for this portion are enabled by an Adafruit Feather 32U4 Bluefruit LE (ATmega32U4), which offers the ability to communicate over Bluetooth. This, in turn, allows animations to be controlled via a smartphone or even a smartwatch using Adafruit’s “BLE Connect” app. Meanwhile, the NeoPixel rings on the ears are managed by a 5V Trinket board (ATtiny85), with both rings sharing data, power and ground; certainly an interesting technique that one might want to keep in mind for later use.