June 9, 2014 AT 9:31 am

Great Examples of Electronics in Cosplay

arduino costumes

If you want to add flair to a costume you’re working on, electronics are the way to go. I often see LED used in costumes at conventions, but that’s just one option. Mika McKinnon of io9 saw several examples of cosplay projects incorporating science and technology at Dragon Con last year. The convention in Atlanta is known as the place to be for cosplayers. Many of them work on outfits all year to show them off at Dragon Con or to participate in huge group cosplay efforts.

In a single day at Dragon Con, McKinnon saw a wide variety of costumers with personal lighting displays with EL wire and LEDs. Some mixed EL wire and LEDs or combined materials for neat effects and used microprocessors to add in sound and changing light patterns. McKinnon states:

I found examples of people using both around the hall: Sushi Ushi used a Raspberry Pi to create sound-reactive lighting displays in her original design, so the lights in her fluffy tail dance to the constant convention drone, while Joshua Kane controlled the strand LEDs in his Halo super soldier costume with an Arduino processor. When asked about learning to use an Arduino, he praised Adafruit’s kits and tutorials for simplifying the process, encouraging any other curious customers to start with them if they’re afraid of taking the leap to microprocessors.


Other examples of science and tech used at Dragon Con include remote-controlled robots, algebraic equations to design dresses, and heat control built into stuffy helmets. For example, McKinnon spotted a Claptrap from Borderldands:

Claptrap isn’t a party-robot or a roving rave, but he’s too cute to ignore. Rob Doran, 8th-grade physics and chemistry teacher, made a CL4P-TP General Purpose Robot (Claptrap) from Borderlands, out of a wood frame structure. Sound effects are provided by a speaker powered by a lithium battery and controlled by his smartphone, and a central glowing eye acquired from the mood lighting section of his local big box store completes the project. In a charming mix of technology new and old, the robot isn’t robotic, but instead a marionette puppet manually driven via a series of connector chains and rods.

Read more about electronics, science, and tech in costumes at io9. PhotoS by Mika McKinnon

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