Tag Archives: Skydiving

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.

Tritium Skydiving Altimeter is redefining altitude awareness


This stunning new wrist altimeter lets you know your altitude through LEDs.


For some, skydiving can be an extremely enjoyable, adrenaline-producing activity. For others, the mere thought of free-falling from the sky can cause severe anxiety. If you’ve ever soared through the sky, then you know all too well that after jumping from the plane, it becomes quite obvious that you indeed plummeting towards Earth, and that if you don’t pull the parachute soon, the end result will not be as “fun.”

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In order to make the best of a skydive, it’s imperative to acquire the necessary training and tools to not only ensure your safety but to optimize the experience as well. That was the idea behind the Tritium Skydiving Altimeter, a nifty little tool that sits on your wrist and provides you with your altitude using LED lights, instead of having to read the exact number.

Created by AO(N²), the wearable device is equipped with 16 ultra-bright LEDs, each of which represent 1,000 or 100 feet depending on the mode. The LED colors are designed to change with altitude. For instance, when the light is green, you’re fine. When amber, time to break off. When red, pull the parachute.

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“We find the colors make it intuitive to know when to break off, track, and pull, and we find canopy mode especially useful as the scale is easier to read than an analog altimeter,” the team writes.

The Tritium Skydiving Altimeter is built around an ATtiny85 MCU along with a Bosch MEMS barometric pressure sensor and a Sharp HDR ambient light sensor for automatic brightness control. As for power supply, the wrist-adorned gadget boasts 10 hours of continuous operation battery life and is rechargable via USB.

“Analog altimeters typically use a sealed chamber that expands or contracts based on the air pressure. This drives a spring, which turns the needle of the altimeter. Well-designed metal springs can have lifetimes of several thousand cycles, and analog altimeter failures are quite rare,”  AO(N²) adds.

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Comparatively, Tritium uses a microelectromechanical system to sense the air pressure. The MEMS sensor is a microscopically etched piece of pure silicon crystal tasked with detecting the air pressure and transmitting its value to the ATtiny85. What’s more, the device is equipped with self-check features responsible for ensuring that the sensor is, in fact, working properly when on. Otherwise it will indicate a fault with flashing red LEDs. To top it all off, the minimalistic Tritium was developed with only one moving part: the power switch.

So, are you ready to bring this altimeter on your next skydive? Head over to its official Kickstarter page, where the team is currently seeking  £66,000. If all goes to plan, shipment is expected to begin in July 2015.