A Face Mask That’s Functional And Hacker-Certified

[splat238] needed a mask for going out in public, but wanted something that fit his personal style a bit better than the cloth masks everyone else was wearing. So, he upcycled his old airsoft mesh mask using an impressive 104 NeoPixels to create his NeoPixel LED Face Mask.

The NeoPixels are based on the popular WS2812b LEDs. These are individually addressable RGB LEDs with a pretty impressive glow. [splat238] purchased a 144 NeoPixel strip to avoid having to solder each of those 104 NeoPixels one-by-one. He cut the 144-LED strip into smaller segments to help fit the LEDs around the mask. He then soldered the power and data lines together so that he could still control the LEDs as if they were one strip and not the several segments he cut them into. He needed a pretty bulky battery pack to power the whole thing. You can imagine how much power 104 RGB LEDs would need to run. We recommend adding a battery protection circuit next time as these LEDs probably draw a hefty amount of current.

He designed his own controller board featuring an ESP8266 microcontroller. Given its sizable internal memory, the ESP8266 makes it easy to store a variety of LED patterns without worrying about running out of programming space. He’s also hoping to add some WiFi features in later revisions of his mask, so the ESP8266 is a no-brainer. Additionally, his controller board features three pushbuttons that allow him to toggle through different LED patterns on the fly.

Cool project [splat238]! Looking forward to the WiFi version.

34 thoughts on “A Face Mask That’s Functional And Hacker-Certified

  1. Regular mask wearing in 35C summers not adequate to train for jogging through a desert dust storm in 45 degree C heat? No problem, we’ll add 40W of heat dissipation in your mask to compensate !

        1. Yeah though I would argue playing and dressing up fun right now is probably a useful function in and of itself in many areas. Looks like it will do the mask bit about as well as most masks, and is technicolour fun.
          – So might just lighten the mood a little, and spread just a little joy.

          1. IDK, maybe it was by billing it as “A face mask that’s functional…” that gave me that impression, rather than a lower expectation title something like “Bedazzle your mask for special event hacker cred”

        2. “functional” and “practical” are two very different and unrelated things.
          Functional means it serves the mask wearing purpose of blocking your ick-spray.
          Practical is everything you describe that this is not.

          Shrink wrapping someones entire head would be fully and completely functional, despite not being practical in nearly every other way.

      1. yes i wanted to build just that. hard to find a nice curved display though. my second though twas use led’s like this and have a mouth shown, that animates. but i like the night rider effect. that would be great!

  2. Needs a proximity sensor that blinks the LEDs red when someone breaks the 6ft mark.
    How will it handle moisture from exhalation?
    And he says that it is not “medical”, but since it covers the nose, and the wire frame pretty much prevents you from wearing it under the nose or around the chin I would argue that it is more “medical” and works better than at least 50% of the masks you would see at a Walmart.
    But I guess if you absolutely have to get to that rave with 3,000 other people and you want to “protect” yourself from covid, this would be an option.

  3. Personal observation: Mask can help make facial recognition much harder. So the conspiracy crowd being anti-mask is ironic. Even in authoritarian countries they required people to wear mask. Enjoy the anonymity walking outside a bit longer.

    Wearing anything non-generic (aka boring) makes you stands out and defeat that side effect.

  4. Nice, but R2D2 understood morenof the conversation. Humans need a lil GUI. So it should make mouth shapes to match spoken words, and pressure pads to detect cheeks rising in a smile and make that smile dazzle to the degree of appreciation for that which or for whom which is being viewed… so she knows… It could even scroll a ph #. 🙄😎

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