Here’s Pi In Your Eye – HUD Goggles

[John Ohno] has found what is perhaps the best possible use for steampunk goggles: framing a monocular display for a Raspberry Pi-based wearable computer. [John]‘s eventual goal for the computer is a zzstructure-based personal organizer and general notifier. We covered [John]‘s zzstructure emulator to our great delight in July 2011. Go ahead and check that out, because it’s awesome. We’ll wait here.

[John] has been interested in wearable computing for some time, but is unimpressed with Google Glass. He had read up on turning head-mounted displays into monocular devices and recognized a great opportunity when his friend gave him most of an Adafruit display. With some steampunk goggles he’d bought at an anime convention, he started on the path to becoming a Gargoyle. He encountered a few problems along the way, namely SD card fail, display output issues, and general keep-the-parts-together stuff, but came out smelling like a rose. [John] has ideas for future input additions such as simple infrared eye tracking, the addition of a chording keyboard, and implementing a motorized glove for haptic learning. 

Want to make your own wearable display but have an aversion to steampunk? Check out this homebrew solution with (mostly) 3-D printed frames. And it has servos!

[Thanks John]

A Light-Up Dress for a New Year’s Dance Party

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Don’t let the above picture’s lack of blinking colors fool you, the light-up dress [Sam] fashioned for his girlfriend is rather eye-catching; we’d just rather talk about it than edit the gifs he’s provided. [Sam's] been a busy guy. His last project was a Raspberry Pi digital photo frame, which we featured just over a week ago, but wearable hacks allow him to combine his favored hobbies of sewing and electronics.

If you’re looking to get started with wearable electronics, then this project provides a great entry point. The bulk of the build is what you’d expect: some individually-addressable RGB LEDs, the ever-popular FLORA board from Adafruit, and a simple battery holder. [Sam] decided to only use around 40 of the LEDs, but the strips come 60 to a meter, so he simply tucked the extra away inside the dress and set his desired limits in the software, which will allow him to preserve the entire strip for future projects. If you’ve ever attempted a wearable hack, you’re probably familiar with how delicate the connections can be and how easily the slightest bend in the wiring can leave you stranded. Most opt for a conductive thread solution, but [Sam] tried something different and used 30 AWG wire, which was thin enough to be sewn into the fabric. As an added bonus, the 30 AWG wire is insulated, which permits him to run the wires close to (or perhaps over) each other while avoiding shorts. [Sam's] guide is detailed and approachable, so head over to his project page if you think you’ve caught wearables fever, and check out his GitHub for the source code.

Acoustic Wayfinder for the Visually Impaired

Ideally, technology is supposed to enhance our lives. [Shane and Eileen], two seniors at Cornell have found a great way to enhance the lives of visually impaired individuals with their acoustic wayfinding device. In brainstorming for their final project, [Shane and Eileen] were inspired by this Hackaday post about robots as viable replacements for guide dogs. They sought to provide wearable, hands-free guidance and detection of (primarily) indoor obstacles—namely chairs, benches, and other inanimate objects below eye level.

The wayfinder comprises two systems working in tandem: a head-mounted navigation unit and a tactile sensor worn on the user’s finger. Both systems use Maxbotix LV-MaxSonar-EZ0 ultrasonic rangefinder modules to detect obstacles and vibrating mini-disc motors to provide haptic feedback at speeds proportionate to the user’s distance from an obstacle.

The head unit uses two rangefinders and two vibrating motors. Together, the rangefinders have a field of view of about 120 degrees and are capable of detecting obstacles up to 6.45 meters away. The tactile sensor comprises one rangefinder and motor and is used in a manner similar to a Hoover cane. The user sweeps their hand to detect objects that would likely be out of the range of the head unit. Both parts are ergonomic and  size-adjustable.

At power up, [Shane and Eileen]‘s software performs a calibration of the tactile sensor to determine the distance threshold in conjunction with the user’s height. They’ve used an ATMega 1284 to drive the system, and handled real-time task scheduling between the two subsystems with the TinyRealTime kernel. A full demonstration video is embedded after the break.

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Touching Conversations: Email Snippets Scroll By on Electro-Embroidery Piece

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[Wei Chieh Shih] really moves the needle when it comes to wearable technology. His textile design project entitled I Am Very Happy I Hope You Are Too is a striking marriage of masterful hand embroidery, delicate circuitry, and careful programming.

[Wei] is using an Arduino micro to drive a matrix of surface-mount LEDs in the Hello, World video, which is a ramp-up to the scrolling text version that’s in progress now finished. That full version is part of his residency project at Arquetopia in Oaxaca, Mexico and displays snippets of emails from his past relationships. It’s huge, with multiple matrices as large as 8×25 pixels!

No build notes could be found for this or any of [Wei]‘s similar projects, like this awesomely dangerous 200 laser diode jacket or this eerily beautiful light installation on Taiwan’s north beach. Based on the pictures, our speculation is that he is using ordinary 6-strand embroidery floss to make stem or half cross-stitches on all the paths. He then runs very thin, flexible conductor underneath the channel of stitches and solders the wires to the component pads.

If [Wei] wants another way to wear his heart on his sleeve, he could investigate these dynamic LED clothing hacks.

Update: [Wei] has completed this project, and has more information available at his Behance site.

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Disrupting Advertisement Agency Workers with Electric Shocks

We hope this project will make you laugh as much as we did. For 4 hours, some Australian advertising executives agreed to be subjected to Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) controlled by people from all over the globe watching their reaction over the Internet. The public could disrupt their day with a click of a mouse. The user simply needed to go online, choose a live stream, click the ‘Disrupt’ button and watch as the EMS instantaneously zapped the volunteers. For each ‘disruption’, the company donated $1 to a local community.

The EMS hardware was designed to deliver up to 60V pulses and controlled using the MIDI protocol. The platform is powered by 8 AA batteries and receives zapping commands via UDP. Unfortunately, the resources can’t be found on the project’s webpage, but you can still have a look at the two videos embedded after the break. The total amount donated during this experiment was $5500!

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Cellphone Charging Inductive Purse

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For whatever reason, cell phone companies really don’t seem to care about giving you a good battery for your phone. Here’s a great hack if you happen to have a purse – turn it into an inductive charger! Manpurses count too, we’re not judging.

[Becky] from Adafruit came up with a great idea for this wearable hack. If your phone is sitting in your purse for long periods of time, why not charge it? It’s a pretty simple hack that makes use of a pair of inductive charging loops. One is hidden inside the bottom of your bag of choice, and the other mounted to a fixture at work or home. She’s using magnets to snap her purse into place on a shelf at work — this ensures the coils line up so the full rated charge can be transmitted.

Another option is to put the entire inductive charging circuit inside your purse, then use a battery pack with a special pocket for you phone — that way the phone is always charging while it’s safely put away!

Stick around after the break to see the complete how-to video.

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Assassin’s Creed Hidden Blade

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The youngins in the crowd may not remember Taxi Driver, but [Matt]‘s fully functional hidden blade from Assassin’s Creed finally does justice to the hidden weapon on a drawer slide idea. It’s got everything you would want – immaculate craftsmanship and a video game reference for that every so necessary blog cred.

[Matt] started his hidden blade build with a drawer slide, mounting an old WWII replica blade to the slider. The blade retraction is spring-loaded, and with a small ring and a bit of wire, the blade gets its automatic draw and retraction.

The arm brace is where this project really shines. [Matt] crafted this out of two pieces of leather, tooled with the Assassin’s insignia and dyed to a deep, jet black

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an automatic hidden blade from Assassin’s Creed, but [Matt]‘s effort is really top-notch. He’s got beautiful leather crafting down pat, and we can only hope his Halloween was filled with parkour and stabbing.