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Halloween Props: Voice-changing Daft Punk costume

[Dr. West] shared his Halloween costume with us; a Daft Punk inspired voice-changing helmet. He stared with a motorcycle helmet, cutting out a hole in the back for a sub-woofer speaker. Inside there’s an old computer mic and the amp circuitry for a portable stereo system. An Arduino is used to pick up the wearer’s voice from the microphone and perform the digital signal processing. Once the alterations have been made the signal is sent to an R-2R resistor ladder to perform the digital to analog conversion, and onto the amp for broadcast. Hear the result in the video after the break.

The rest of the helmet is window dressing. He found some kind of auto-body repair product called flex-edging to use as metallic hair. Those fins are accented with strings of red and blue LEDs. The faceplate finishes the look using speakers from the stereo system and a tinted visor.

He wan’t going for a replica, but we think his creation would be right at home with the look of the original.

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Live action fighting games

Here’s a strange one. This fighting game uses a video game interface to instruct modern-age gladiators on how to bring the pain. The costumed fighters cannot see anything other than a set of lights in their helmets instructing them to move or punch. A camera films them and overlays the footage on a digital background along with simulated blood and a health bar for each. NES controllers are used to instruct them, and switches inside the costumes register the pummeling they receive and deduct health accordingly. This wouldn’t be any good without a demonstration, which we’ve embedded after the break.

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Motorcycle rear-view with in-helmet display

Want to see what’s behind you when riding your sport bike without taking your eyes off the road? They make rear view cameras for that but [Nescioqd] wanted a rear display right in his helmet (PDF). He started by mounting a rear-pointing camera on the back of the bike, powered from the 12V feed for the taillight. On the display side of things he picked up a Myvu Crystal wearable display. This is like a pair of glasses that have small LCD screens were the lenses should be. [Nescioqd] removed one lens and mounted it inside the helmet.

Since the display resides inside the helmet there is some concern about being able to see at night with a bright screen below your eyeball. [Nescioqd] actually ran into the opposite problem at first, bright sunlight makes it difficult to see the image on the LCD screen. He fixed this by picking up a dark tinted helmet visor (the easiest solution) but we’d love to see a photoresistor used to regulate the backlight level.

It would be interesting to see both screens used, with rear-view on one side and an instrument display on the other.

Daft Punk Helmet replica finally completed

[Harrison Krix] finished his Daft Punk Helmet replica and posted about it this week. We took a look at his work back in October but he’s come a long way to pull off a legendary build. Take three minutes after the break and see 17 months worth of work. So many skills were pulled together to make this happen; sculpting, mold making, painting, electronic design, mechanical design, and bad-ass-ery. Crammed in along with your noggin are a bag-full of LED boards but the Arduino that controls it all resides outside, in a project box tethered to the helmet. This is a masterpiece of socially-unwearable geek fashion.

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Light up your ride with an LED mohawk

[Garrett Birkel's] weekly ride usually features some pretty wild costumes. He wanted something to step up his own look so he make this LED mohawk bike helmet. He had an LED strip to start with and found a way to use acrylic and clear plastic tubing to fold the lights into the appropriate shape. From there he designed a PCB for some DC-DC converters to provide regulated power. The juice comes from Lithium Iron-Phosphate cells, the same kind we saw in the electric bike assist battery a few days ago. We find it a bit wild that you can pick out the PWM of the LEDs in the lens effect of that photograph.

Daft Punk replica helmet

daftpunkhelmet

For all their varied and entertaining uses, circuits and code comprise only part of the complete hacking experience. To really put your project over the top, sooner or later you’ll want to possess some physical fabrication skills. Consider the works of [Ben Heckendorn]: He’s always done a fantastic job with the electronics, but it’s the fit and finish of the enclosures that make him a legend.

“Fabrication” usually conjures images of shop tools — saws and sanders and drills — all tremendously useful skills worth learning, and easily within reach of most home shops or garages. Recently, the techniques of mold making and casting have seen something of a DIY renaissance. Mold making is nothing new, the basic concepts go back millennia, but in just the past few years the materials for extremely high-quality molds have become safer, simpler to use, and easier to acquire.

This being Halloween month, what better example of the medium than this impeccable replica helmet styled after half of the musical duo Daft Punk (a recurring theme among Hack a Day contributors), created by prop maker [Harrison Krix]. After sculpting an original master part (from common hardware store and art store materials, we might add), a one-piece flexible mold is built up from silicone, which captures every minute detail, and later the helmet form is cast from a thin layer of resin. The visor is vacuum formed. A follow-up with the internal electronics build is yet to be posted, but even at this stage the shell alone is so refined it looks straight off a showroom floor. If mold making can do this for someone’s noggin, imagine what it can do for your next creative hardware project. Smooth-On, a major supplier of these materials, has a free PDF introduction and a set of tutorials on their web site.

[thanks Wolf]

Motorcycle visor rain disk


[andrew] sent us this proof of concept. Based off of the Spiech Clear view screen, used in marine applications, it uses a spinning disk to keep a part of your vision free of water droplets. While you may not be too impressed by watching the video initially, keep in mind that this was a quick prototype. With some planning and a little work, this could be moved to a more convenient location and run by a side mounted motor. It could even be made to be removable for fair weather. It probably doesn’t do so well with mud though.