Tag Archives: Kaleidoscope Eyes

Becky Stern builds a NeoPixel ‘punk collar

We’ve covered a number of cyberpunk inspired ensembles in recent months here on Bits & Pieces, including Mell Ell’s cos-play outfit, the NeoGeo watch, Kaleidoscope Eyes and the Flora-powered GPS jacket. Today, we’re going to be taking a closer look at a NeoPixel punk collar designed by Adafruit’s Becky Stern that is powered by an Atmel-based GEMMA (ATtiny85 MCU).

“Get your cybergoth on with five color-changing NeoPixels studded onto a leather collar,” Stern wrote in the tutorial’s introduction.

“The tiny GEMMA microcontroller can display endless animations on this fun funky accessory that’s easy to make with a little soldering. The GEMMA and battery live on the outside of the collar, [while] the NeoPixels pierce through the collar to be wired on the inside.”

Becky recommends that Makers kick of the project by connecting all pixels power pins to GEMMA’s Vout, ground to GND and the first data input to GEMMA D1. The data out from each pixel is wired to the data in on the next – and hobbyists can easily add five more pixels for a total of ten.

Next up? Installing the NeoPixel library, connect the NeoPixels to a solderless breadboard, using alligator clips to attach to GEMMA.

“You’ll need to change a few lines in the code regarding the data pin (1), type of pixels (RGB vs GRB), and number of pixels (5). From the Tools→Board menu, select Adafruit Gemma 8MHz or Adafruit Trinket 8 MHz as appropriate,” Stern noted. “Connect the USB cable between the computer and Trinket, press the reset button on the board, then click the upload button (right arrow icon) in the Arduino IDE. When the battery is connected, you should get a light show from the LEDs.”

If all the pixels are working, Makers can proceed to the next step: building the collar.

“While the collar is pretty durable, use caution in heavy rainstorms or really sweaty dance parties- remove and power down the collar if the circuit is going to get wet. Store your collar in the round, and don’t shove it in your bag or it might get twisted or crushed, which could break the circuit,” added Stern.

Interested in learning more about building a NeoPixel ‘punk collar? You can check out Adafruit’s full 
tutorial here.

Going Steampunk with Atmel and Adafruit

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 (ATtiny85) Trinket (or Atmel-powered Gemma) and a battery (lithium-polymer or 3x AA battery case).

Now the Adafruit crew is back with another slick goggle design. While “Kaleidoscope Eyes,” targeted a slew of fashion genres, the latest pair of goggles are clearly more Steampunk (from a fashion perspective) than either Cyber or Daft.

“Everyone loves funky goggles and the Adafruit Neopixel rings are perfect for building a flashy pair. To kick it up a notch, we STEAMed up these goggles with some high tech sensors and a bit of applied math and physics,” explained Adafruit’s Bill Earl.

“The goggles are controlled by a Flora microcontroller [powered by Atmel’s Atmega32u4 MCU] with a LSM303 accelerometer/magnetometer to track the motion of the wearer’s head. A simple physics engine implements virtual pendulum display on the LED rings that swings in response to the motion of the wearer. The effect is much like a pair of hyperactive electronic googly eyes.”

In addition to the Atmel-powered Flora MCU, key project components include:

  • One pair of Goggles – Any pair of goggles with 50mm lenses will be a perfect fit for the neopixel rings. The prototype for this particular project was built with these German-made safety goggles – using the optional tinted lenses.
  • Two Adafruit Neopixel Rings.
  • One Adafruit Flora LSM303 Magnetometer/Accelerometer.
  • One 3xAAA battery pack.
  • Scrap of leather or upholstery vinyl for mounting electronics to the temple.
  • One 53mm Watchmaker’s Case to house the Flora & Sensor.

It should probably be noted that the goggles are more for show than anything else (Halloween, COSPLAY), as they aren’t suitable for general use as eyewear and certainly not safe to use as protective lenses.

“The flashing lights are very visible inside the goggles. They will impair your vision and may cause dizziness headaches or even nausea with prolonged use,” Earl cautioned in a detailed tutorial. “The LED rings themselves will severely limit your peripheral vision, making it dangerous to walk-about, much less drive a car, juggle chainsaws or pilot a starship.”

That being said, these awesome STEAM-Punk Goggle Operating System recognizes several “gesture” commands for changing operating modes. To be sure, all it takes is a nod of the head to engage the anti-gravity circuits.

Interested in learning more about the Atmel-powered STEAM-Punk Goggles? You can check out Adafruit’s STEAM-Punk Goggle tutorial here.

A NeoGeo watch for cyberpunks and steampunks

Earlier this month, the AdaFruit crew designed a pair of Atmel-powered goggles dubbed “Kaleidoscope Eyes” and a chic Flora GPS Jacket for cyberpunks, steampunks and yes, even Daft Punks.  Today we’re going to be taking a closer look at an Atmel-powered NeoGeo watch that can be tastefully paired with Adafruit’s futuristic goggles and Flora GPS Jacket for a full cyberpunk/steampunk fashion ensemble.

Designed by Adafruit’s Becky Stern and Tyler Cooper, the NeoGeo watch is based on the wearable Flora platform (ATmega32u4 MCU) and an accompanying GPS module.

“[You can] make your own LED timepiece [that] tells time with a ring of pixels. A leather cuff holds the circuit and hides the battery. [Yes], the watch is chunky, but still looks and feels great on tiny wrists,” Stern wrote in a detailed Adafruit tutorial.

“The circuit sandwich becomes the face of the watch, and you’ll use a tactile switch to make a mode selector. The watch has timekeeping (one LED for hours and one for minutes), GPS navigation (customize your waypoint in the provided Arduino sketch) and compass modes.”

According to Stern, the NeoGeo watch is an intermediate-level project requiring soldering and precision crafting. Key components and equipment include:

  • FLORA main board
  • NeoPixel ring
  • FLORA Wearable Ultimate GPS Module
  • FLORA Accelerometer/Compass Sensor – LSM303
  • Tactile switch
  • Tiny lipoly battery with charger
  • Leather watch cuff (Adafruit’s is from Labyrinth Leather)
  • Small scrap of fabric
  • E6000 craft adhesive
  • Binder clips
  • Thin-gauge stranded wire
  • Double-stick foam tape
  • Black gaffer tape
  • Multimeter
  • Soldering iron (Rosin Core solder), scissors, wire strippers, pliers, tweezers and flush snips

In terms of assembling the circuit, Makers are instructed to kick off the project by soldering small stranded wires to their electronics components, about two inches long each.

“Strip the wire ends, twirl the stranded core to make it more easily pass through the circuit boards’ holes, and solder to the NeoPixel ring’s IN, Vcc, and Gnd pads,” Stern explained.

“It’s best to solder on the back side of this particular board, since the pads are quite close to the leads of the NeoPixels on the front of the board, where a large dab of solder could bridge the two.”

Interested in learning more? Be sure to check out Becky Stern’s detailed NeoPixel tutorial posted on Adafruit here.

An Atmel cyberpunk jacket for your steampunk goggles

Recently, the AdaFruit crew designed a pair of Atmel-powered goggles dubbed “Kaleidoscope Eyes” for cyberpunks, steampunks and yes, even Daft Punks. Today we’re going to be taking a closer look at a Flora GPS Jacket that can be tastefully paired with the futuristic AdaFruit goggles for a full cyberpunk/steampunk fashion ensemble.

The GPS Jacket – designed by AdaFruit’s Becky Stern – is built around Flora, a wearable electronics platform powered by Atmel’s Atmega32u4 MCU.

“Make your coat react to your location with color-changing LEDs! The Flora GPS Jacket tracks your coordinates and then pulses the lights around the collar when you reach your destination,” Stern wrote in a recent post. “[You can] change the waypoints and range in the provided project code to make your garment light up near your favorite coffee shops or the perfect picnic spot.”

Key components for the GPS Jacket? A Flora GPS Starter Pack (includes a Flora main board, Flora GPS and 8 Flora pixels), battery holder (3xAAA w/JST recommended), USB cable (A to mini B), sewable battery holder coin-cell battery (optional for faster GPS fix), conductive thread, multimeter, alligator clips and snaps (optional).

The project begins by chaining 8 pixels together around the collar and attaching the GPS to 3.3v, TX, RX, and ground. A 3xAAA battery holder hides in a pocket and extends through a seam to plug into the JST port on the Flora.

Interested in learning more? Full instructions for designing AdaFruit’s GPS Jacket can be found on Becky Stern’s detailed tutorial.

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.”