Halloween costume ideas

Only a month before halloween is upon us.

For the past few years I have wanted to make a halloween costume, something unique and filled with electronics of course. Time, knowledge and monetary constraints have stopped me, however that all changes this year. I have foolishly decided to forgo worrying about financial constraint for the time being, using good ol’ American plastic to pay for the supplies. What to build?

Earlier in the summer I ordered a heartfelt t-shirt kit from Produce Consume Robot which worked wonderfully. I sat around thinking about how I could possibly extend that functionality, and that is where the idea for the costume was realized. Why not model more of the circulatory system? I already have a component for the heart and my pulse, perhaps I could extend this to the major arteries in the body using chains of LEDS.

Looking around at my favorite sites, I discovered these LED strips.

RGB LED Strip, individually addressable

The strips contain RGB LED’s which can be altered individually because of the the way they are chained together. They contain 32 RGB LED’s per meter. I figured more is better so I found similar products on e-bay which contained 52 LED’s per meter, so I went ahead and ordered a 5 meter reel.

My intention is to cut up the 5m strip into smaller strips which will be overlain on a shirt and pant to mimic the major arteries that go to each foot and up each arm. Pulses of light will travel down the LED strip, and will allow for color changing and special effects. The lights can be triggered by combining with my heart rate shirt, or to external stimuli such as reacting to sound/music around me. Additionally, I thought about adding modes with static color effects and animations, and maybe even persistence of vision effects. All of this should be battery powered, and there should be a very simple interface or remote control to change between the various modes on the fly.

For reacting to sound, I plan to use an MSGEQ7 graphic equalizer IC. This IC accepts audio input and performs some type of frequency analysis. The output is divided into 7 frequency bands, so it is entirely possible to create effects which react to low, middle and high pitched notes.

For the remote interface, a simple button panel will do, but if I have the time then maybe I could create simple android application and use bluetooth to control the lights wirelessly from my phone.

Here is a horrible picture of what I plan to do:

More to come!