Last weekend a number of us planned to attend the Thames Festival Night Carnival on Blackfriars bridge with various lighty/glowy things strapped to ourselves. Originally i planned to build a glowing hat but due to problems with material being expensive decided to defact my dinosaur hoody with LEDS
Charles (from Electric Laboratory) gave me a load of programmable RGB LEDs at EMFCamp last week, these things are great. Shift RGB data in on two pins and they pass it down the chain to the next one. There are arduino libraries for them and 8 will run off a 9V battery.
I decided to make some plastic fins for the tail, starting off with a design in sketchup and then working it out to SVG and DXF for the lasercutter (design here). The cutter had no problems with the polypropylene sheet and after jamming an LED in them they look like this:
That worked well enough for me to hit the "Make me more of these" buttons on the lasercutter
After sewing them on I fed the LED strip through and gave it a test run
They look better in the dark, honest!
I then threw together and Arduino + battery box to hide in my pocket
The original plan was to use a bluetooth serial dongle to control the patterns from my phone but I managed to fry the board and gave up with that.
The pattern generator is simple, there are 4 preset patterns: a nice blue sine wave fade, red/green constant fade with pulsing blue up and down, an all green mode with the head-fin building to blue and dropping down the chain and finally an attempt to light-write the word "F**K" using white pulses (which needs more work!)