Cyber Jacket — Cyberdeck Cafe Contest

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The contest in the Cyberdeck Cafe discord was to make a Cyber jacket. I had several ideas of what it could be and do:

  • Based on (used) motorcycle jacket
  • LEDs (of course: WLED to start, something smarter later)
  • Arm control pad and display
  • Rear facing X band radar
  • Collar mounted IR LEDs to confuse surveillance cameras and face recognition
  • Bluetooth or other speakers in the collar

I ended up getting an unused motorcycle jacket on marketplace and set about adding bling. The original idea was to put LEDs down the spine and arms but when I got the actual jacket it had existing styling pads on the spine and shoulders. So instead I set about working around those. I traced out the pads on paper and then in Inkscape to cut on the laser.

The clear acrylic was frosted in the sandblaster or scuffed by hand when the sandblaster was down. I also added a second layer of acrylic to try to diffuse the light more. I wanted to make it so you couldn’t see the individual LEDs in the strip.

I heated a a nail with a torch to make the holes in the padding and nylon. This not only made the hole but melted the edges as to not unravel. For the leather holes I used a leather punch. The wiring was done inside the liner of the jacket where I would tear a small hole to solder them together and then tape it up with gaffer’s tape.

I chose ESP32 to drive the LEDs mostly because it is wireless and has WLED. The idea was I could reprogram it later in circuit python when I added custom features. I built a little board with connectors for the LEDs and a uUSB power input. I can power it with a USB power bank or a 5V from 3S drone LIPO.

I wired it in 3 separate strings for separate GPIO on the ESP32. The spine, shoulders, and chest. I was inspired by the amber lit stripes on Sabine Wren’s costume in Ahsoka. It was a dumb thing but it looks cool.

Like a lot of my projects I got version 0.2 working with WLED and wired into the jacket. I have worn it now for several events including the Nashua Holiday Stroll representing the labs and at keyboard meetups.

More photos and video here (LINK TBD)

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