Tag Archives: NeoPixel rings

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.