Adafruit Forum member JoshuaKane writes:
I wanted to share with everyone a project I worked on for a recent sci-fi/comic convention. I have always been a fan of fantasy, sci-fi and comics. A few months ago I started working on an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper (ODST) costume and weapon.
I wanted to make the sword something that would literally make folks stop in their tracks and take notice at a convention. For this I turned to the Arduino Microprocessor and some of the accessories developed at Adafruit.
The full idea is to give the impression of a pulsing energy sword. The perfect item to light this sword are the NeoPixel strips (60 LEDs per meter). The complete package is a sword that would light up when you turned it on, and play a sound indicating that it was switched on.…think Star Wars light saber. Once lit the NeoPixels would pulse from blue to purple to red, and back to blue. What weapon would be complete without sounds? To give the sword a more realistic look and sound we used the ADXL345 to be able to detect motion, this would trigger a sound event via the VS1053 breakout.
To complete the package I used 2x liPo 2600mAh batteries hooked in parallel through a UBEC to give a constant and clean 5v for the LED’s and controller.
Sword body pieces fresh out of the vacuform machine. These will be painted on the inside.
Arduino Micro, ADXL345 accelerometer and VS1053 audio breakout board are concealed within the cast resin handle.
All the pieces coming together. The bubble wrap is presumably there as an LED diffuser. Clever!
Completed costumes, ready to wow onlookers at DragonCon!
Here is the official press release for the Arduino Micro in collaboration with Adafruit.
Arduino Micro in collaboration with Adafruit
Arduino Micro board – Based on the technology behind the Leonardo board, its main feature is the very small size.
The Arduino Micro packs all of the power of the Arduino Leonardo in a 48mm x 18mm module (1.9″ x 0.7″).
It makes it easier for makers to embed the Arduino technology inside their projects by providing a small and convenient module that can be either used on a breadboard or soldered to a custom designed PCB.
The Micro has been developed in collaboration with Adafruit Industries, one of the leaders of the Maker movement. Adafruit is already developing a series of accessories for the new board that will complement its power and simplicity.
Throughout the month of November the product is available exclusively from Adafruit online and Radio Shack in retail stores.
Main features of Arduino Micro:
- The Arduino Micro is a microcontroller board based on the ATmega32u4.
- Like its brother the Leonardo board, the Arduino Micro has one microcontroller with built-in USB. Using the ATmega32U4 as its sole microcontroller allows it to be cheaper and simpler. Also, because the 32U4 is handling the USB directly, code libraries are available which allow the board to emulate a computer keyboard, mouse, and more using the USB-HID protocol.
- It has 20 digital input/output pins (of which 7 can be used as PWM outputs and 12 as analog inputs), a 16 MHz crystal oscillator, a micro USB connection, an ICSP header, and a reset button. It contains everything needed to support the microcontroller; simply connect it to a computer with a micro USB cable to get started.
- This allows the Micro to appear to a connected computer as a mouse and keyboard, in addition to a virtual (CDC) serial / COM port.
- Microcontroller: ATmega32u4
- Operating Voltage: 5V
- Input Voltage (recommended): 7-12V
- Input Voltage (limits): 6-20V
- Digital I/O Pins: 20
- PWM Channels: 7
- Analog Input Channels: 12
- DC Current per I/O Pin: 40 mA
- DC Current for 3.3V Pin: 50 mA
- Flash Memory: 32 KB (ATmega32u4) of which 4 KB used by bootloader
- SRAM: 2.5 KB (ATmega32u4)
- EEPROM: 1 KB (ATmega32u4)
- Clock Speed: 16 MHz
Arduino, the first widespread Open Source Hardware platform, was launched in 2005 to simplify the process of electronic prototyping. It enables everyday people with little or no technical background to build interactive products.
The Arduino ecosystem is a combination of three different elements:
- A small electronic board manufactured in Italy that makes it easy and affordable to learn to program a microcontroller, a type of tiny computer found inside millions of everyday objects.
- A free software application used to program the board.
- A vibrant community, true expression of the enthusiasm powering the project. Every day on the www.arduino.cc website thousands of people connect with other users, ask for help, engage and contribute to the project.
About Adafruit Industries
Adafruit was founded in 2005 by MIT engineer, Limor “Ladyada” Fried. Her goal was to create the best place online for learning electronics and making the best designed products for makers of all ages and skill levels. Since then Adafruit has grown to over 25 employees in the heart of NYC. Adafruit has expanded their offerings to include tools and equipment that Limor personally selects, tests and approves. Adafruit has one of the largest collections of free electronics tutorials, open-source hardware and software to help educate and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.