Glowing Eyes Costume // Becky Stern

Glowing Eyes Costume // Becky Stern


Welcome! Today I’m building two sets of LED eyes that
change with a wireless remote. You can find the step-by-step tutorial for
this project at the link in the description, including the parts list, circuit diagram,
Arduino code, and sewing pattern. Let’s go. I made the first version of this project a
few years ago for Adafruit, and the basic version is perfect for beginners. The circuit’s just two NeoPixel jewels and
a Gemma microcontroller. But this year, for a DJ and laser performance
my boyfriend and I were doing at my hackerspace, I wanted to create twin ghost hoods with colors
that changed simultaneously using a single remote. In comes the latching 315Mhz RF receivers
and matching remote. These little sets create basically a remote
button press, driving the corresponding pin HIGH when the remote signal is detected. That’s the nerd alert! This month, a bunch of nerdy creators, including
myself, are participating in #NerdThunder! It’s a way for you to find more curious & passionate
makers you might not have already known, so check out everybody’s links in the description. I started with the NeoPixel part of the circuit,
using six-inch pieces of wire to connect the power, ground, and signal wires. Then another three wires connect between the
first jewel and the Gemma, which are long enough to reach from my face area to the lapel
area, in my case about 16 inches. I like to use thin gauge silicone coated stranded
wire, which is flexible like a noodle. I used female header wires to connect the
receiver, which already comes with right angle headers installed. To power each circuit, I’m using a 500mAh
lipoly battery and some 3D printed holders that get stitched inside the costume. After assembling the two circuits, I tested
out various LED animations and the remote. As I suspected, running the receivers at three
volts instead of five still works, but the range is somewhat reduced. Onto the sewing portion of the project. I used the same printable pattern I designed
the first time around, and cut it out of folded white fabric. Since I’m making two, I doubled the fabric
over again so I could cut all the pieces out at once. I ultimately cut out another layer in white
cheesecloth to add some more texture. The hood piece and shoulder piece each have
shaping seams that need to be closed up first, then they get sewn together at the neck seam. Next, I stitched a seam along the top of the
hood, with right sides together. A piece of 19 gauge galvanized steel wire
supports the front edge of the hood, so I folded over the fabric and sewed a hem which
will serve as a channel for the wire. I cut the face panel from sheer black fabric
to roughly match the shape of the hood opening, then pinned and sewed it in place. The wire end should be curled to prevent it
from catching on the fabric as it travels through the channel, then the other end should
be curled too, both so the wire doesn’t stick you while wearing it, and to provide an anchor
point for hand-stitching the wire ends in place. To figure out where to place the LEDs, I found
it easiest to just wear it and use a mirror. Then I used matching thread to stitch through
the black fabric and circuit board mounting holes. I tack-stitched the wires to the inside in
a few places, and switched to white thread for securing the battery holder, microcontroller
board, and wireless receiver. After testing, we discovered the white fabric
was letting too much light onto the face, so I cut another layer of just the hood portion
of the pattern from some opaque black fabric, and lined the hoods. Another key improvement was for visibility. Although you can see reasonably well through
the sheer black fabric, my boyfriend couldn’t read the small text in his Abelton DJ software,
so I removed the top section of the sheer fabric in his hood. But from far away in the dark, you really
can’t tell the difference. After the party, we marched in the NYC Halloween
Parade with my SVA students, who made electronic costumes as a class project. Don’t forget there’s a step-by-step tutorial
for this project on Instructables, and there’s a link in the description. Thanks for watching! I create videos about technology, crafts,
and my life in New York City. Please give this video a thumbs up and subscribe
to catch the next one.

14 Replies to “Glowing Eyes Costume // Becky Stern”

  1. I like the idea of having one remote trigger events on two costumes; did you have any issues where signal interference or low voltage caused desyncing of the displays?

  2. That is such a fun project! And it was interesting to see your process as you went along to change the design to fit your needs. Great video!

  3. Loved it. Missed the premiere but I like the format, I don't mind catching it after the fact and it's cool to see the live chat. The end result looked awesome, I also loved those tetris pieces.

  4. Cool!! We did almost the same project for a custom party last may! I liked the RF controller idea. https://www.instagram.com/p/BiZSV_Xglwo/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

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