Introduction: Neopixel Giant Love Meter High Striker Scarf
Strongman, Test Your Strength, whatever it's called, come one, come all, step right up... Whaddaya say, Big Boy?
A classic carnival game to demonstrate your athletic prowess or physical skill and to prove to your significant other that you've got what it takes. You just have to lift your finger for this one and find the sweet spot to press that button.
Best of all, it's built into a cuddly scarf great for breaking the ice.
If you want something to tell you how hot you are, maybe you should look into making a Neopixel Giant Thermometer Scarf. eh, maybe not.
Step 1: Scarf Up a Few Bits...
For this you will need a few things:
I used an Adafruit Flora arduino board for my microcontroller. A smaller Adafruit GEMMA or TRINKET would work also.
Adafruit Neopixel strip (30 neopixels long - 60leds/meter density) long enough to fit the draped side of your scarf
Adafruit Neopixel ring (16 neopixels) This was just for added flair, because we can.
mini tactile switch - I wired it up and taped it down to a folded piece of cardboard which makes it a big wide button switch, an arcade style button would be nice
battery pack of your choice. I still haz no lipo, sniff.
Microfleece for the scarf, a strip or pieces a foot wide to fold in half x 6 feet.
A bit of muslin or fabric to make the electronics pocket
A bit of fiberfill batting to diffuse the neopixel LEDs.
miscellaneous wiring, soldering stuff
miscellaneous sewing, serger stuff
CAUTION: Learn how to solder, program, work with electronics, sew, and make safely.
Step 2: Ring That Bell...
Of course this has that carnival hijinx built in. I initially thought I was going to use some kind of pressure sensor that could really sense the impact of a hit to the button. Sure, you could do something with an accelerometer or ball switches but that would get a little more complicated considering this was for one evening's fun project. Besides, I didn't have a real weight/impact sensor to use.
Since most carnival games are not "rigged" wink, wink, I think we can simulate the mechanics of the game by having the user press a button and have the microcontroller come up with some kind of value for the amount of impact.
Random values would work and would even be fun to see what the computer thinks you are worth.
I would say again that this is a great beginner project to tackle if you want to learn arduino. Get an input switch working and figure out how to make light animations with the neopixel strips.
I just used my DIY big button switch for the input. Activate the internal pullup on the pin to save adding an external resistor to the circuit. Check out if your switch setup is working by activating the onboard LED as a test and look at the serial monitor to see if it goes HIGH or LOW when pressed so you can adjust your code to respond accordingly.
I used an Adafruit Flora arduino board so I was trying to figure out how to use interrupts for faster switch sensing. I didn't get too far with that since that takes a little bit more advanced programming and trying to translate pin assignments from the few arduino examples out there to the Flora were confusing.
I wanted the carnival running light display going at all times. If you press the button - swing and hit the button - it would knock the weight or send the light travelling up the scale.
You can look into the random number generator and experiment to see if you are really getting a good distribution of "random" values or skew it any way you like.
For coding, I started with the neopixel strandtest code to make sure the rainbow theater chase light effect was working. I then added the button function which triggers the climbing scale effect. It hangs for a bit and then drops back down.
Mishmash code is attached, mod as you may. Everything is a work in progress.
Step 3: Fancy That...
A scarf seems to be the perfect vehicle or case for a wearable electronics project. It is essentially just a tube made from fabric. Just stuff everything inside.
But, we want to dress it up a bit.
Sew a separate layer of fabric to create pockets for the neopixel ring at the top and one for the button at the bottom. Create a channel or sheath to encase the long neopixel strip. I like to sandwich in a thin layer of fiberfill batting to help diffuse the individual neopixel LEDs. Sew that assembly to your scarf.
Once the electronics are in and working, constantly test if they are working since wires and connections are all squished into the scarf.
You can seam the scarf closed lengthwise. You can leave a small opening to access the electronics.
The ends could be partially sewn shut so things don't fall out like the battery pack.
You can determine where to draw your scale and add any other lettering.
Use fabric markers, permanent markers, fabric paint - which are great because they come with a needle tip applicatior so you can write with them, embroidery, appliques, stickers, whatever to decorate your scarf.