Tag Archives: The Power Suit

The Power Suit is an Arduino-powered costume

Just in time for Halloween, a Maker by the name of Michael Teeuw has created a slick costume entitled The Power Suit. Though the ATmega168 MCU powered suit originated as just a fun idea to win a theme night competition with a couple of friends, the end result was actually quite stunning!

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“Every once in a while you are looking for a nonsense reason to build something completely useless but absolutely awesome. This year’s trip to the Belgian Ardennes is the number one reason to achieve my childhood dream,” Teeuw prefaced.

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The Maker aspired to create a suit which was equipped with built-in sound effects and voiceover, full-color LEDs, real-time audio and manually controlled lighting, independently powered wings, Bluetooth connectivity, and to round out the Tony Stark getup, a mobile app to act as his J.A.R.V.I.S.

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Based on a set of football shoulder pads and chest protector, the Iron Man-inspired suit was brought to life using an Arduino Pro Mini to serve as the brains of the system, a Bluetooth Low Energy shield to enable wireless communication, a series of Adafruit NeoPixels to add the visual effects, a spectrum analyzer to transform audio into usable data for the Arduino, and a step-down power converter to run the electronics.

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Using the shoulder pads as its base, Teeuw added a pair of ATmega168 controlled servos under each of its flaps to create wings capable of lifting themselves up.

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The Maker then attained 72 Adafruit NeoPixels. The center of the suit was fitted with a 24 pixel ring and two-8 pixel strips along the shoulders, while another two-16 pixel rings were situated around the eyes using Adafruit’s Kaleidoscope Eyes tutorial.

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In order to enhance its next-gen appearance, Teeuw used a 300 million megawatt speaker connected to a 18 watt amplifier.

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Additionally, in order to control the lighting effects, color and wings, the Maker tasked a Nintendo Wii nunchuck connected to the Arduino.

Rounding out Teeuw’s must-have function list was the suit’s coinciding iPhone app. Besides a futuristic designed interface, the iPhone app has five features:

  • Playing looping background sounds
  • Playing speech sounds with a manual or random trigger
  • Playing sound effects with a manual or random trigger
  • Playing speech sounds based on Bluetooth feedback from the suit
  • Feedback about the current actions and connectivity in a console

Oh, and for those wondering as to whether or not Teeuw won the competition, you bethcha!

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Inspired to go make a Power Suit of your own? You can find the detailed breakdown of Teeuw’s build here, and see it in action via the video below.