Introduction: Morse Helmet*

About: Mathieu Zurstrassen is a trained architect who from 2013 embraces the path of visual arts. In designing objects, he moves away from the projection of the drawing and focuses on the experimentation of construct…

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Morse Helmet* is an open source Do It Yourself project created by Belgian artist Mathieu Zurstrassen (RaiseStudio).
It consists of a device that sends custom light signals to the above.

But how do this hum.... Thing/Stuff works???

Here it is:

The user writes a message with the help of a touch screen display wired on a raspberry Pi.

When the user clicks the "SEND" button, his message is converted to Morse code and the custom made helmet sends the converted light signals through the top of his head!


This open source DIY art project provided by the artist and his all time favorite collaborator Martin Pirson, tries to reduce the gap between the professional Art World and the DIY world.

What makes an artwork, Art?
The creator? The craftsman? The materials? The instructions? The context?

The project won't probably answer these questions, but if at least it can be a catalyst to just evoke these, it would be a win for us.

*(Hello Stranger)


List of hardware

1. Electronics:

  • Raspberry Pi 3/4
  • Touchscreen for raspberry pi
  • Power bank
  • LED ring 24 Bits or equivalent
  • Lead wire and solder
  • Electric cable

2. Mount for the electronics:

  • Helmet or equivalent
  • 3D printer (not mandatory if you have super maker skills)
  • Moustache
  • PVC Pipe (support for LED ring, not mandatory)

Step 1: Source the Materials!

1. Electronics:

  • Touchscreen for raspberry pi
    • 3.5 Inch TFT LCD Display Touch Screen Monitor for Raspberry Pi 3 (check on
  • Power bank
    • Any 5V with a 2A output and at least 6000 mah will do
  • LED ring 24 Bits or equivalent
    • WS2812B Module Strip 24 Bits 24 X WS2812 5050 RGB LED Ring Lamp Light with Integrated Drivers RGB 24 for Arduino (check on

  • USB to Micro USB cable
  • USB plug for soldering (or just cut an old one you found... somewhere... No questions will be asked... )
  • Lead wire and solder
  • Electric cable

2. Mount for the electronics:

  • Helmet or equivalent
  • 3D printer (not mandatory if you have super maker skills)
  • Moustache (for the style, style is important while building stuff)
  • Support for LED ring, put your moustache on an be creative!

Step 2: Flash Raspbian Image

(Hum, this project requires a bit of knowledge with the Terminal commands and the Rasperry Pi world)
But (It's pretty simple, and you should be ok following the steps listed below)

First you have to:

Download the latest Stretch+Processing Raspbian image

Then you have to:

Download and install BalenaEtcher

You Flash Raspbian image onto a 16go sd card with etcher

Then you:

Add an empty .txt file named "ssh" to the boot partition of the freshly flashed sd card

And you:

Create a new .txt file on the boot partition named "wpa_supplicant.conf"

You will the have to:

Add the following lines to the file and fill with your OWN information the ssid and password









Connect to the Pi with the Terminal via:

ssh pi@raspberrypi.local

Type "raspberry" when you see the password prompt

Update Raspbian by typing:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade -y

Step 3: Install Touchscreen Display Dependencies

git clone >

chmod -R 755 LCD-show

cd LCD-show

sudo ./LCD35-show

Your raspberry pi should reboot and you should now be able to see Raspbian desktop interface on your touchscreen.

Install the touchscreen calibration software:

cd LCD-show

sudo dpkg -i B xinput-calibrator_0.7.5-1_armhf.deb

Step 4: Install Rpi_ws281x Library

jgarff provided us a great library to drive all sorts of addressable led chips (ws2811, ws2812, neopixels, dotstars,...) directly from the pi, so let's roll and git clone again!

git clone

sudo apt-get install scons

cd rpi_ws281x


sudo pip install rpi_ws281x

Step 5: Upload Python and Processing Scripts to the Pi

Our python script is based on the great work done by Stevenchi36

Download the python script.

On a new terminal window navigate to the file location. For example:

cd /Downloads/morse_helmet/

Send the file to the raspberry pi via scp:

scp ./ pi@raspberrypi.local:

Type your password if needed. This will copy the file "" to the "/home/pi/" directory on your pi.

Download the processing sketch, change the name "mouseKeyboard.txt" to "mouseKeyboard.pde" and move it to a new directory with the exact same name. Somehow the Instructables editor didn't allow us to upload a .pde

Open the "mouseKeyboard.pde" with Processing on your computer.

On Processing's menu bar, under tools, click on Add tools...

Search for Upload to Pi by Gottfried Haider, click on it and then on install.

Under the tools menu click on Upload to Pi to compile, send and launch the Processing sketch to your Raspberry pi.

Step 6: Wiring and Soldering

  • Grab your soldering iron and solder Red and White cables on USB plug
  • Connect D In (signal) from Led ring to GPIO 12 (pin 32)
  • Connect the Touch screen shield on the Raspberry
  • Connect the usb cable to the Power bank and the micro USB to Raspberry Pi
  • (Both USB need to be connected to the SAME Power bank)
  • Start your Power bank
  • --. --- / - --- / -. . -..- - / ... - . .--. / ..-. --- .-. / .- / ..-. .. .-. ... - / - . ... -*

*(GO to next step for a first test)!

Step 7: TEST!

We hope it is a Wohooooooooooo!!!!

Be creative now, next step is to find a way to place the LED ring on top of the Helmet, Hot glue works well, you can also model a special support and 3D print it if you have access to a Printer.

Creating an arm support for the Raspberry Pi is also a good idea, be creative and send us pictures of your projects!

Step 8: Thank You!

This project is offered to you By RaiseStudio, it is meant to be Open Source and is an attempt to reduce the gap between the Art World and the DIY communities.

The Source Code is free to use, free to share, free to remix, just don't be like our friend Pablo who forgot to wear a moustache and always forgets to cite his sources.

We hope you Enjoy!

Mathieu Zurstrassen & Martin Pirson.

Feel free to visit our Website if you fancy crazy projects:

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