Sound Reactive Exo-Spine

I’ve been pretty obsessed with wearable electronics that tie humans into their environment for the past few years. There are a ton of ideas piling up on my hard drive that I will eventually bring to light but for now I thought I would start with one of the more prominent ones. My most recent project is a sound reactive armor spine made from leather vertebrae that are hand molded and dyed a dark silver. The lights are Adafruit’s Neopixels controlled by their Flora micro controller. I had wanted to make this project for a long time but wasn’t able to get the time until recently. So far it has definitely been one of my favorite pieces to complete and I plan on making an entire armor set along the same lines.

The pieces drying after their molding.

Finding a dye mix that would give me a metallic sheen was kind of a pain. I ended up having to dye the pieces black first and then mix a silver toner with a silver acrylic dye. Then came putting all the pieces together in such a way that they could move freely. Turns out that simple was better than complicated for this. Every spine piece has a dedicated Neopixel. This took a lot of soldering. Lots and lots of soldering. The lights are using a kind of altered and bastardized code from Adafruit’s Ampli-tie project.


I murdered two innocent Floras before I finished this project. I’m not sure what I did, but Adafruit’s customer service was awesome enough to send my broke ass a new one which has so far survived.

So much soldering....
So much soldering….

Once it was all put together, it ended up being a little longer than I expected. So I removed some pieces at even intervals so that it wouldn’t interrupt the pattern of the pieces.20150531_205426


And the demo of the final product!