Adafruit Flora Brain Machine Bra




About: This author has not updated their profile. They might or might not get around to it sometime. If the kid wants a unicorn... Dangit, we're gonna make that happen. What little I know is dangerous, the rest I...
Why? Or why not? There is no try.

This is how Bach would have played out his variation on the Adafruit Flora Star Wars Theremin Bra. No. Not really.

This is Mitch Altman's nightmare realized on what happens when DARPA gets involved with the maker movement. Let's go with that. I do not recall what I did in the military nor if I was subjected to any training that I do not recall or was supposed to not recall.

Yup, you can stare at this for hours or let it go through it's 14 minute pre-programmed sequence of light and sounds.

Heck, I guess you can stare at this for hours without it powered up.

The original Brain Machine created by Mr. Altman is a set of glasses with LED embedded in the lenses. A microprocessor board is programmed to flash those LEDs in a pattern and rate meant to stimulate certain brain activity.  It also has sound output which plays tones in each ear to enhance the stimulation from the LED lights.  This takes it a step above and beyond. It's way out there.

This instructable is meant just as inspiration for others to begin making.  This is the age of wearable tech, "wearables". Brain activity is a real subject that deserves to be explored further. My nooby skills with arduino are used to try to emulate what was done with the original product .  I did not have the time to really analyze and transfer the code to get it fully functional on the Adafruit Flora arduino variant board.  The Adafruit Neopixel Rings replace the single LEDs.  Other than that, it's all good.

(You may need good speakers or headphones to hear the audio in the video. Recorded with cheap camera.)

DISCLAIMER: Again, this is not TSA nor Taliban approved for wear on or near any modes of public tranport. Burning Man and the NYC Halloween Parade may be exceptions, OK, NYC and SF in general.

Oh yeah, WARNING Flashing bright lights may affect those affected by flashing bright lights.  May cause seizures or sight impairment similar to directly looking at the sun. Neopixel LEDs are hella bright.

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Step 1: An Ounce of Inspiration...

I had some fabric sraps leftover from my recent Instructables Robot Hockey Shirt. So I was still thinking about something to do for the Manly Crafts Contest.  Well, what better than to combine sewing, electronics and lingerie for a project?

No need to waste scraps of good fabric.  I could always use my serger to make bigger pieces of material by joining little pieces.

I had some strips of material so that would be perfect to make the straps.  A couple of other pieces would fill in the rest.

I haven't used my Adafruit Flora in a while and everyone is getting the Adafruit Trinket or Gemma (ATtiny85 based board) to experiment with.  I was experimenting with programming the bare ATtiny85 using Arduino as an ISP so I'll get those new boards in the future.  Adafruit Neopixel rings are fun to use. 

So something along the lines of wearables should be the next project.

Hmmm, the brat has a TV-B-Gone.  TV-B-Gone jackets have been done already.

Brassieres fitted with electronics have been done.  Been there...

I know, how about integrating the Brain Machine with a brassiere?  A new world crowd control device or something.

Make it so.

Step 2: Under Development...

I started reading up on the original Brain Machine.

Essentially LEDs flash at certain rates to go along with certain moods or brain activity.  You can stimulate or or enhance those specific types of brain activity which is called entrainment.   Besides flashing lights, you can use sounds to stimulate too.  If you play slightly different pitched sounds in each ear simultaneously, you get a beating effect which is called binaural effect.  Knowing how to apply those exact frequencies and rate of flashing lights is the key to the brain machine.

So I downloaded the open source code for the Brain Machine(officially Sound and Light Machine?).

It was written for an ATtiny2313 so coding is a little different than the programming for the Arduino.

The logic seems pretty straightforward.

I found there has been an attempt at replicating the Brain Machine with Arduino.  It was created a few years ago and the code didn't want to compile right away when used on my Flora board.  Reading it did give some insight on how to approach the code changes.

So here is what I started to do.

Adafruit Flora and Neopixels
I thought the Neopixel "blinking eyes" animation would seem interesting to mix in with the flashing LED ring effect.  I don't know if that really adds or detracts from entrainment.  

I took the sample goggles code for Neopixels and changed it to run the ECTO single color mode.

I found the variable for the predominantly green color scheme and changed it so I get a red color scheme.  I think I read somewhere that red seems to be the most effective color for entrainment.  Mr. Altman has another project with his Neurodreamer Sleep Mask which I think uses multicolor lights.  You can check that out and bra-ify/bro-ify that.  

Messing around with the rest of the code for blinking, animation and color shifting would require a further understanding of bit manipulation for the RGB values.  

I tried to speed up all the loops and reduce any forced delays in the code.  I think you really have to do some calculations to see if the blinking generated is really matching up with the prescribed rates for the brain activity.

I have not merged it with the 14 minute pattern of brainwave cycles yet.

The standard arduino libraries makes it capable of playing one sound at a time.  It is monophonic so a tone is played for a set duration.  It must be shut off before the next tone command can be issued.  So you really aren't getting the true binaural experience with the stereo headphones or dual speakers.  Maybe adding a sound board/MP3 player board will help solve this problem.

There are some other libraries out there that creatively make use of the other timers on board which allow the Arduino to produce simultaneous tones.  I have not looked into incorporating these yet.

The original Brain Machine is intended to be used as a totally immersive device, thus the wrap around glasses.  Stero headphones are replaced with the piezo buzzer speakers.  You could use a set of small speakers too for better fidelity.

So I dunno what to say what you need to do to make the Brain Machine Bra a totally immersive experience.  Happy Sailing?

Step 3: Errant Go Bra...

Look up any real instructable on how to make a brassiere.  I didn't.

I just darted around a bit.

Ok, this one came out half bad.  Gee, I hope the lady from CNET doesn't write about this one.

Step 4: Electrifying...

Time to make the a real Brain Machine.  Or at least make it work like one.

With the the electronics prototyped, all we need to do is sew it on to the bra.

The Brain Machine had some cool 60's graphics as the faceplate.  I cut out a template and just used a blue permanent marker  to draw some lenticular lines reminiscent of the design on the Brain Machine.

I started off by attaching the Adafruit Flora in the center of the bra.  

The wires would just radiate out from there to the other components.

I positioned the naughty bits piezo buzzers and neopixel rings in place.  They were then sewn with the thread winding around the component.

I didn't really think about where to position the battery pack but there seemed to be a handy spot to tuck it in place.

The wiring harness was checked to make sure all the connections were tight and the gizmo fired up.

So what's next?  I was thinking of developing a line of hypnotic type bras, with the moire/Twilight Zone swirling graphic that lights up and plays music...

Have fun, take an idea and run with it.

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    31 Discussions


    5 years ago

    What if you put the LEDs on inside of bra for fake breasts. Fake ones lite up like fiber optics.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice project!

    PC comment: "I really like looking at the mesmerizing lights on your creation!" "Why no, I hadn't noticed your bosom."

    Non PC comment: Could you make the lights go back and forth rapidly to give guys whiplash?

    Further observation: Have you considered adding propellers? Just wondering.

    2 replies

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I have made rose LED cleavage enhancers for a few ladies in my time,
    But I will venture to speculate you will only get two women to try this contraption  :-)

    3 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    LED cleavage enhancer.

    The uP sedately illuminates several of the 8 LEDs.
    Intended to draw the eye to the desired area.


    Ah okay. was curious since the term "Hella" is very prevalent here and seems to be rarely used anywhere else. :P

    I've seen that term used in various projects from all over the place and Hella does make auto lights. I have picked up the descriptive terms "wonky" and "bullocks" from our UK friends on this site.

    I got it now:
    Caitlinsdad: why is this bra $50?
    store person: it has an underwire for support.
    Caitlinsdad: an underwear?
    Store person: under WIRE.
    Caitlinsdad: oh, never mind i can go to rat shack for wire.
    Catlinsdad at rat shack: i need wire!
    Rat shack: Sir, I dont know what that is, check the components bin.

    Rat Shack clerk: But do you need a cell phone?

    Just what I need - something to make it more difficult to maintain eye contact.

    Probably not an issue, I don't get invited to parties where people wear this kind of thing anyway!

    Rat shack: you got questions, we got blank stares.. and Cellphones!

    my words to live by, i dont trust anyone at a parts store or electronics store unless they have a mullet and a fanny pack.

    Just noticed Rat shack is a sponsor. They sell good products.

    Whaddaya mean not all HDMI cables work the same and that the $100 ones work better? Wait, that's at the brick and mortar Best Showroom Store.