Dazzling coat sure to be in demand with pimps everywhere

This is the newest addition to [Arren Parker's] Burning Man wardrobe. The full-length lighted faux-fur coats is completely his creation. He started with a pattern that he acquired from Ebay, adding side pockets and changing the hood to a collar. From there he added the 256 RGB LEDs that make it shimmer so appealingly.

For this to work, he designed and ordered 300 tiny PCBs on which a connector socket and the LED are soldered. These are driven by a set of six TLC5940 pulse-width modulation chips, and ultimately by an Arduino. The effect is spectacular (see for yourself after the break), and we’re sure it’ll be a hit at burning man.

Comments

  1. Matt says:

    It’s like a Christmas tree for hookers to sit around and get their presents!

  2. Jake says:

    I wouldn’t call this a hack. It’s something…. Just not a hack. I also wouldn’t call him a pimp…. More like a fruit?

  3. CB4 says:

    Oh don’t be bitter, it’s a nice build.

    It’s like a lure for women of low moral fibre :D

  4. JB says:

    @Jake:
    Not a hack? He added lights to a coat that didn’t come with them to begin with…qualifies as a hack.

    But it IS something, alright… :P

  5. JB says:

    @ Matt: LOL

  6. phil says:

    awesome. like to see some sensor incorporation, such as fading the colors in the direction the wind is blowing. wish i was going to burning man…

  7. TheAstrogator says:

    I have to agree, it’s not really a hack. Unless hacking clothing is what this is all about. I like it anyways, and it kinda proves he is a pimp because of all the money he burned on this coat. Spendin’ them dollas

  8. James says:

    hows about hot-wire anemometers next to each LED and the lighting proportional to it, effectively showing the air speed over the surface as you walk. Now THAT I would love to see.

  9. GeekDoc says:

    Awww, c’mon HAD, you owe this guy a link…

    http://rgbledcoat.blogspot.com/

    (from the video)

  10. dbear says:

    Hack or not?

    1. Did the maker design it himself ? Yes – HACK
    2. Did the maker make it himself? Yes – HACK
    3. Is clothing hackable? Yes – HACK
    3. Is it unique and new? No probably not – I found several led coats online – Not HACK

    So what is the definition of a Hack?

  11. GeekDoc says:

    BTW: All those who say this is not a hack, you really need to check that link and see the work that went into this.

    I agree with @JB.

    @Matt: You made me literally LOL.

  12. Judging by his blog, it is not faux fur, but actual fur.

  13. Err, it is faux fur – he just doesn’t clarify. I suppose real fur would be a bit too spendy for such a hack.

  14. Michael says:

    The coat definitely makes a statement. Not sure what the statement is though…

    Anyway good luck to him, the way I see it I think I would pass on wearing it; this coat only makes it easier for the rooftop snipers to see him in the dark.

  15. Chris says:

    Gandalf on acid.

  16. andar_b says:

    Looks like someone found that amazing technicolor dreamcoat lol

  17. Bill says:

    Definitely a hack, just not unique or original anymore. Everyone and their mother has an LED coat / garment now.

  18. rallen71366 says:

    @Chris – I almost choked on my ramen. You have a way with words. A funny, weird way.

  19. Arren says:

    On the comment of Original/Unique. I have yet to find one LED coat out there that is completely programable and doesn’t require a connection to a laptop to run it :-)

    Ideally I will be including a handheld controller and some ability to make it react to sound/music. I will likely need to go with a more powerful microcontroller.

    Plus the whole point of this was to be a roving art installation at Burning Man. I had brighter lights on me then most art cars roving the playa. Thank you for the comments :-)

  20. Arren says:

    Oh, and I would appreciate the link being added.

    http://rgbledcoat.blogspot.com/

    Thanks GeekDoc

  21. Spork says:

    @Chis
    Welcome to Burning Man.

    Very cool hack. I wouldn’t wear the coat, but the electronics side is pretty awesome.

  22. Bill says:

    @Arren

    Apparently you never googled it. Try it, there’s a whole lot of results, most running with embedded controllers. There was even a RGB LED coat on hack-a-day recently that is programmable and accepts commands from an iPhone for modes. Hell, even I built an LED Lab coat back in college (with a college budget), 3 years ago before RGB leds were affordable; and made it “completely programable and doesn’t require a connection to a laptop” a year ago.

    http://www.billporter.info/?p=92

    I’m not trying to belittle your work at all. It’s gorgeous, and I respect the quality of wiring and design; and i’m glad Hack-a-day featured it so I could see it. LED clothes just isn’t a new thing at all, everybody’s doing it now; which could explain why people don’t feel like this is a hack(it really is). It’s just an old (and over-done) one.

  23. 1 word, iPimp, look out apple

  24. Arren says:

    @Bill I apologize for any claims to originality regarding having a controller built in :-)

    To a point on the LED-suit posted recently, he is using pre-existing LED Modules and the impresion I got about his code is that the arduino is only acting as a reciever for all commands from the Iphone. But his build quality is still very impressive.

    I suppose what I am claiming in originality is more the scale and configuration. I should get a clearer picture of the wiring on the coat, it may require inverting the lining however. The matrix itself is pretty much its own hack. Controlling a 16×16 12bit RGB matrix with a single Arduino was no small feat.

    And no, light up LED clothing is not by any means new :-)

  25. Bill says:

    I hear you Arren. Right now i’m working on a project i’m calling ‘Arduquee’

    http://www.billporter.info/?p=374

    which is a 8×8 Red/Green LED matrix driver that is chain-able to any length, all running off 6 IO lines of a single Arduino. Future plans include PWM colors, and scaling up to a RGB matrix. I can appreciate the control you have over your RGB LEDs, and i’ll most likely be creating something similar soon, a new version of my Lab coat. :)

  26. mowcius says:

    Oh you owe this guy a… hey didn’t I send you the link to this yesterday?

    Mowcius hides away in the corner as he was not mentioned for being helpful…

  27. Arren says:

    @Bill Pretty cool looking, and excellent design. I like how clean the boards are. I really need to start working with SMD components so I can get smaller simpler layouts. I started out my project testing with an 8×8 rgb matrix of the same type. I will be curious how you end up doing PWM.

    One of the reasons I went with the TLC5940 was ease of use for PWM control. The biggest issue I had to overcome was the refresh rate. Each frame requires shifting out just over 1kb of data via I2C which ate up a lot of the Arduino’s resources. Until I was able to get the interrupt code to work properly, I was very limited as to what patterns I could actually get the Arduino to do.

    256(leds)*3(rgb)*12(pwm bits)+8(Shift Register bit)=1152 bytes

    The biggest advantage to this is the clean color transitions and is scalable on any axis at the loss of either brightness(adding an additional Shift register for more rows) or data throughput with addiitonal TLC5940s. Currently I do not know what my refresh rate actually is, I need to borrow/get an oscilliscope.

    With a more powerful controller either of these issues could easily be overcome.

  28. Ravetacular says:

    WHOA! glowey lights that are soft to the touch, Digg it!

  29. Derek Vance says:

    altho i would never wear this coat….

    you sir, deserve a voucher for 1 [Free Internet]

  30. Peter (Seattle) says:

    This *totally* needs a matching wide-brim hat.

  31. Tom Hargrave says:

    Just what I need for night rides on my Harley during the Christmas season!

  32. charlie says:

    Where are the pimp shoes……

    Come on, he went to the trouble of finding a hat, YOU have to have shoes.

    Not complete till he finds them shoes!

  33. Tachikoma says:

    Willie Dynamite would have loved this shit.

  34. anon says:

    You made my day Matt.

  35. Bill says:

    @Arren

    Hope you are still following this thread. I’m building a somewhat similar coat for my Childrens Science Show. See: http://www.billporter.info/science-brothers-premiere-show/

    I wanted to peak at how you handled the multiplexing with TLCs in code. Do you mind giving me such a peak? My email address is at the bottom of the page I linked.

  36. Arren says:

    @Bill

    Should have just sent you an email. Keep me updated!

  37. Galane says:

    “…256 RGB LEDs that make it shimmer so appealingly.”

    More like appallingly… ;)

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