Im going to a festival next week where I need a costume. A few months back I picked up a clone trooper mask in a local supermarket in the sale.
I can’t just wear a mask, that is lazy… it needs a hit of robotics expertise, it needs to glow and change colour! I have been working on an atmel i2c system for a while, but time is short and a technician at work introduced me to this;
It is called a rainbowduino. Its cheap considering its capabilities. Essentially it is an Arduino, with rgb led drivers with capabilities to drive up to 64 (8*8) rgb leds. To top it off this guy has developed a gui programming method. As much as I would like to make a custom system and feel like I have engineered it all myself, time is short, and this makes everything so easy I can hardly say no.
The design of the mask works by multiplexing LEDs. Each LED has 3 channels, RGB, and one common anode. To light an LED colour you power the anode of the LED and pull the channel low. This is already configured as the behaviour of the rainbowduino so everything fits together easily. To position the LEDs I laser cut 5 rows to hold 3 LEDs. The holder just has 4 push fit holes for the LED legs. These are then simply taped in to the mask. Wiring is a bit fiddly, so I have used enameled wire. I have wrapped wires directly around the LED legs and soldered the join to burn the enamel away. Seeing out of the mask is quite tricky, so using anything thicker than enameled wire would make vision impossible. Here is a video of it working in the lab. I need to program some more custom behaviours in, and I might spray it all black for a better affect.
and so I did paint it black…