Arduino for costumes

by blf on Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:41 pm

Hi, I'm off to Comic con this year and really want to add electronics to a couple of costumes. I am a newcomer to electronics and Arduino.

I want to do a few things:
Mechanically deploy and reseat a set of wings for an angel costume - my initial idea is to use a small motor to run a pulley to unwind a spiral wing to full wing length and then reverse the action to re-seat to the unfurled position. I have also wondered if I could do this pneumatically somehow. Are there modules for small air pumps?

I would like to sync led back-lit pictures (printed on transparency?) set to music.

Is there anyone willing to help?
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Re: Arduino for costumes

by pburgess on Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:23 pm

Yay! Electronics and costumes, two of my favorite things...

Normally I'd be the last person to discourage anyone from trying techy stuff like this...but wings in particular...I've seen some really gifted engineers and costumers just totally defeated by this exact problem, repeatedly. It can be done, but it's a pretty advanced Skill Level 5+ type of project requiring a lot of trial and error (mostly error).

As an alternative, I've seen a number of manually-controlled wing sets that are discreetly operated using well-placed cords and hand loops (and practice). Look around on YouTube for 'articulating wings' for some good examples. Sometimes low tech is best. :D

For the projection aspect, that sounds much more approachable for a first-time Arduino project. But I'd need to know a bit more what you had in mind.
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Re: Arduino for costumes

by blf on Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:49 am

pburgess wrote:For the projection aspect, that sounds much more approachable for a first-time Arduino project. But I'd need to know a bit more what you had in mind.


Thanks for the response!

I'd like to project images onto a dress, or a mask. There's a scary Doctor Who villian that looks normal, but can have apretty ugly mug and creep you out. It's be projected to a mask. I am sure this is more complicated than I'd like to pretend.

As for the wings - I have several months and have found some great examples out there, now just to implore some engineering buddies of mine

I'm also interested in back-lighting some transparencies and syncing to audio.

PS - Are you "Demon-costume" Phil from the video :) Love your work!!!!!
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Re: Arduino for costumes

by blf on Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:23 am

I'm interested in try something with muscle wire. Similar to what is done here:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/the ... aker-faire
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Re: Arduino for costumes

by adafruit_support_bill on Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:44 am

Not sure that muscle wire would be capable of unfurling wings in a full human-size costume.
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Re: Arduino for costumes

by adafruit_support_mike on Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:50 pm

It's also worth remembering that Muscle Wire belongs to the Nitinol family of alloys. Those tend to be kind of power hungry, and they do get hot. One of the technical pages at musclewire.com (http://musclewires.com/PDFs/Nitinol_v20.pdf) lists temperatures of 55-75C (130-165F).

This page of safe cooking temperatures from the FDA (http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/Resou ... 260394.pdf) covers about the same range.

You'll want a good layer of padding between the wire and any exposed skin.
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