The LED Strip Jellyfish Costume with Arduino & LPD8806 Led Strips

Picture of The LED Strip Jellyfish Costume with Arduino & LPD8806 Led Strips
It all started when I saw a BBC documentary in 2002 about deep waters of the ocean. There was a biolimunescent jellyfish in the documentary, probably of the species "ctenophores" that grabbed my attention so in the later years I decided use it as a Halloween costume.

It wasn't until 2011 when the led strips using LPD8806 driver chips came on to market that I found the opportunity to do this cost effectively (of course cost effective meaning if you plan to use these waterproof strips elsewhere during the 364 days of the year).

I planned to use these strips with an Arduino. Sadly I couldnt code in Arduino but I used Adafruits forums to find someone who could do the programming. (kudos to Edwin Mak for help with the Arduino programming) 
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Step 1: Project in Detail - Requirements

Picture of Project in Detail - Requirements
First I created slow motion version of the video so I could analyze the nature of the colors.

A few things I could put to words regarding requirements:
-Pattern: This is the colorful sequence that travels the strip.

--The color of the pattern: I wanted the color of the pattern to also change as it travelled down the strip.  From yellow, to blue, to red dominant pattern color. yellow-red, blue-yellow and to randomization of all these.

--The sequence of patterns: Also once a certain pattern travelled I wanted the next pattern to be of different color, so I needed a function that spits out random sequences of colors that matched on all strips, [Note: however this didnt prove to be easy so I went with a single pattern repeating: greens and yellows followed by red and black... the black in the pattern end is basically leds off. so if the pattern is 13 Leds long. it would be 3 leds green, 5 leds yellow, 3 leds red and 2 leds off. ]

-Style of pattern travel: The sequence changes once in a while . Style1: The pattern starts and then fades itself after about 30cm then begins again to start fade again in 30cm. Style2: It follows the whole led strip without fading. [Note: Style1 proved to be difficult so we went with Style2 where the ]

-Brightness: I wanted to attach a third potentiometer to control brightness.

Further requirements:
-If possible, I wanted a potentiometer to change the pattern color of the sequence. The dominant color would always be red but the overlay sequence of colors or the overlay style could be changed too. There were a couple of styles in the video. [This proved to be difficult so it wasnt done]

-I wanted to change the speed with another potentiometer. [This was done successfully]
-Of-Off-Flickering Effect: I wanted to have an on-off button or a switch that would help me turn OFF the display of the sequence when pushed and ON when pushed again. However I wanted the sequence to continue behind so that when I switch back it would display where it was as it continued. I was planning to use this for manual / really crude beatmatching. [I didnt have time to do this as well so I basically snapped the cables off Arduino when I wanted to do this and it worked pretty good. That was pretty awesome for beatmatching. Note: I had arduino's power connected to a seperate 9V battery. So when I turned up the led strips power, which used led acid battery, the strip and Arduino continued running. This made flickering of the led strips much more attractive.]
Would an arduino uno work
gpavlovsky10 months ago
Great costume! I love it :)
tootall112110 months ago
I'm no electronics genius, but I can see a real use for this idea. Emergency workers that have to be out in dark, stormy conditions might be a good place to have something like this. Sure, maybe it needs tweaking as to the power supply and what not, but it definitely could be useful. There might even be a few military uses, like when close bombing is called for, it would allow the friendlies to be differentiated from the enemy. Maybe it could be done with some spectrum of light not visible to the naked eye, but readily visible to the many spectrum electronic sights in the bombers.
These are some great ideas!
sabu.dawdy10 months ago
awesome one
ashmantle10 months ago
Very nice result. Thank you for posting this instructable, I'm going to try something similar for our christmas tree.
Tylerpalmer710 months ago
Awesome project!

Just a few questions:
- Roughly how much would you estimate you spent on this project?
- How durable was the setup? I would like to emulate/build off of your project, but I don't want to spend all of Halloween worrying that I'm going to destroy the costume or be uncomfortable (heat isn't an issue, however, we usually have a cold Halloween anyway).
turgan (author)  Tylerpalmer710 months ago
The Led strips (I used the 32leds-per-meter strips) are half the price this year than what they were was last year. But they are still around $13/meter so thats at least $130 for 10 meters if you order from China. However these are very versatile waterproof strips and you can use them later for all kinds of lighting. The Arduino prices vary they are around $50. The batteries were cheaper than I thought at about $10 in a local store.
turgan (author)  turgan10 months ago
raincoat was $14 but if you find a diffused version of any of those raincoats they sell on the street that would work too. Actually making a poncho type something form any other material might work better, I had difficult time taping these strips on to the inner raincoat. The only material/glue that works on the raincoat and the led strip waterproof casing was sticky tape, not even super strong 3m double-sided strips worked somehow.
kde leon310 months ago
I love it! :) so creative!
michael6310 months ago
That is awesome is that a onesie
Arezoo_a198510 months ago
angryrobot1710 months ago
how much would it cost?
nnygamer10 months ago
This would be a great project for Burning Man!
turgan (author)  nnygamer10 months ago
thank you. been there twice 2005 and 2006. The costume served Istanbul Halloween only so far. Hopefully I'll make it back to playa next year.
wirenut198010 months ago
Awesome project!
billbillt10 months ago
This is awesome!
I love those kinds of jellyfish! Very nicely done!