To create the right Iron Man look we first need a good Iron Man shirt to that looks good. I looked through what Amazon had to offer and found one that is suitable.
Iron Man T-Shirt & Mask
After that, I looked for ways to create the desired electronics that will do the job. First, I was thinking of using an Arduino microcontroller like Uno but I decided that Adafruit products would be more suitable since they to provide most of the parts we need for the project along with couple sample projects to get inspired by. So in the end, my microcontroller of choice is Adafruit Trinket, which is small and light enough to run around with but supports up to 16MHz of clock speed which is required to control the LEDs in synch with the music.
The most important ingredient is the LED strip. Again, Adafruit provides a very good product that can solve this issue. With 4 pieces of NeoPixel ¼ 60 Led Ring, we can create a LED ring with 6.2” diameter which is perfect!
Adafruit NeoPixel ¼ 60 Led Ring
In addition to these essential items, we also need some parts to complete the circuit and securely place in the t-shirt. A soldering iron, a sewing kit, a power source, a small microphone, a flexible breadboard to solder the circuit on, a slide switch to turn the circuit on or off, a button to easily change the “dance mode” of LEDs, at least 7-8 feet worth of electric wires, some red cotton fabric and sewing thread for to hold everything in place. You can find the shopping list for additional material below.
Lithium Ion Battery // https://www.adafruit.com/product/328
Backpack for dissipating power to all elements // https://www.adafruit.com/product/2124
Small Microphone // https://www.adafruit.com/product/1063
Flexible Breadboard // https://www.adafruit.com/product/589
Slide Switch // https://www.adafruit.com/product/805
Button Switch //https://www.adafruit.com/product/367
Thinking about how to successfully hold and conceal everything. I found it best to sew a small pocket at the inner back side of the t-shirt and place the circuit there. Additionally, by sewing strips of red fabric to the side of the t-shirt, we can create a tunnel for the cables to go through. You can find the sketches below.
The most challenging part is placing the LED Ring to the chest. Soldering or sticking the ring to plastic ring can be more effective rather than sewing it on the t-shirt directly. I think this will take couple rounds of trial and error to solve.
After thinking about the placement of electronics, I considered how I can get the electronics the work which is going to be doing most of the job. I found two sample projects that are not quite similar with what I’m trying to do but can be really helpful, on Adafruit’s website.
Camera LED Ring Light
Trinket Sound-Reactive LED Color Organ
I think that we can create the desired circuit by taking some parts of the design and code of these projects and playing around a little. This is one of the reasons I’ve strictly chosen Adafruit
Products because their website provides a lot of guides, manuals, and libraries to make the development process simple. Mixing the two circuits in the examples I came up with a design of my own using Fritzing software. You can find the diagram below.
I think that the most challenging part of this project is to come up with enjoyable patterns for the LEDs to dance to within the code. This will take some time to program and since I currently do not have the tools in front of me to the prototype I can’t make any suggestions here but the Adafruit Sound-Reactive LED Color Organ can present some starting points. I should note here that, there should be at least 3 different functions for “dance” patterns declared within the code to be able to switch around during the party.
Is this a good/useful/informative piece of content to include in the project? Have your say!
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