My favorite kind of project is the kind of project that makes me happy and also makes someone else’s day.
Recently I was asked to contribute to a superhero costume for Super Hope. Super Hope is an awesome organization that works with kids who have cancer, and partners with local designers and artists to create superhero costumes for these kids, giving them the vision and motivation to kick cancer’s butt.
I wanted to make an arc reactor a-la Iron Man. I was working with Luma (Myth and Magic) to create a design done by an 11 year old girl battling leukemia and the LEDs really made it come to life.I started by 3d printing a design I found online of an arc reactor, modified slightly.
I took a neopixel ring wired it up, then cast it in easy cast resin (with lots of glitter!) so the light would diffuse nicely and sparkle a bit, and also so that the electronic connections would be protected. Kids are hard on electronics!
Then I wired the neopixels up to a gemma microcontroller and tried out a few different code samples to make the lights flash and blink in various patterns. After putting a bunch of work into this I realized that Adafruit’s neopixel strandtest code (for testing pixel strips) worked incredibly well and so I ended up just using that code as-is. It cycles through ranbow colors, pulses, blinks, and generally does lots of fun stuff right “out of the box”. Win.
I added a 3AAA battery case and hot glued the whole contraption into the 3d printed arc reactor case. It looked SO great with the spandex yellow and purple costume that Luma made. And our amazing superheroine was delighted. 🙂