Vote Charlie!

The evolving rainbow ‘spirit hood’

Posted at age 27.
Edited .

In the mad prep for Burning Man 2014, I went in with more knowledge than I had the year prior; I knew I needed lights. Now I have an ongoing project that is an exercise in programming and attempted durability.

After having my eyes opened to the dizzying possibilities of programming lights, a bit of research led me to NeoPixels, produced by a nice little company called Adafruit. Since I was living in Japan for 2014, I didn’t built anything super involved, but I did order a premade dog hat draping sides that weren’t quite long enough to qualify as a scarf. The Light Up Fur Animal Hoodie was simple. And it broke. But the idea stuck.

This past year, I asked my friend Todd to help me sew a similar hood. I wanted to make it as large as reasonable, to build in as many lights as I could. He graciously agreed, and one Saturday we set to sewing. After an hour or two, we had a first draft. I figured out some improvements I could make to the process, and created a second one from scratch. It took all day, but once I finally got the lights in and doing a simple program, it was wondrous.

I’ll post more details at some point. I am still hoping to work on the program more, and I’m still iterating on the electronics. For now, you can see the current iteration in the video above!

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