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Body Computing System - An update

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So I wrote about my plans to build a PAN a month ago, where have we got so far?

Core Jacket System

I'm making some interesting progress on the Core Jacket System.

I lucked out on the jacket that I chose; there is a mesh lining on the inside which is free from the outer fabric, except at the edges. It's the perfect way to stash a bunch of wiring, which is exactly what I'm doing. I have an MVP of the brain system which will power the notification bus and generally act as, well, the brains.


The shoulder pocket contains the brain, and an Adafruit "spy camera" runs through the inner layer out the breast where it can easily take photos.


This part of the system is currently disabled because I didn't have an easy way to toggle the photos off, and ripped the camera's ribbon cable. Woops. Basically I need to build more input systems in to the sleeve still, including some sort of switch to enable some sort of autistic mode, which I have coming from Sparkfun, along with some sewable vibrates which I hope will be better than the Adafruit freestanding ones I got.

The sleeve interface is in good shape right now, and works without catching my arm on fire from shorted out resistive thread. It's very much an MVP with only two LEDs right now; I plan to add the sparkfun vibrators and switch as well as moving to an Adafruit NeoPixel jewel for the visual system, and an Adafruit softpot to build a sort of touch based interface system in to the sleeve.

Tonight I sewed in some EL wire to the sleeves as a way to provide ambient light and easy identification on the street, when I need it (ie flagging an Uber, etc)

I purchased, as well, some fake welding goggles, which I will be mounting the LED IR blasters on to with a JST-detachable cable to power them, that way I can disappear when I want to without constantly having LEDs on my face. That should arrive some time next week.

Interface Kit

I CADded this out in Autodesk Inventor, and then realized how fucking hard it's going to be to get right.

Here are two animations I rendered from the CAD and posted to Freedom Hating Twitter: https://twitter.com/rrrrrrrix/status/560017820889530370 https://twitter.com/rrrrrrrix/status/560019318147006464

Basically I'm going to end up with a thing that's twice as thick as the Nintendo 3DS and about the same size, and I have to figure out how to depopulate a Raspberry Pi A+ without ruining it. Augh. And then I have to 3D print a case for it. I may have to revise this plan.

The Software to back this

For now, the software is all in a single repository on my cgit which is of course still impossible to do anonymous clones from because I am trash. I am designing this for now to be a single repository that you can make and make install to get a working system from.

I've been focused mainly on the sleeve system, which is an arduino-based AVR system. Instead of using the shiny new Arduino CLI tools, I'm using this Makefile system which templates the INO file and calls out to AVR, which is more backwards compatible and also more future proof if I decide I want to move away from arduino-style ino files in the future.

As an aside, I've become really rusty at C/C++ code, and this sleeve project has been a fun way to get back in to it. I am even writing test harnesses!

The brain is mostly just a stock Pidora right now, with a cronjob that takes a raspicam image every minute. I have plans to move this to a SystemD timer, and I also have to solve the lack of an RTC on the pi, either using NTP or by moving to a system with an RTC on it such as the O-DROID platform.

So many directions to take this, I need to focus on the MVP for now. I'm looking forward to getting this thing to take Bay Area Makerfaire.

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Ryan Rix is a privacy rights advocate and net-art wannabe. Reach them on the Fediverse as @rrix@cybre.space, twitter as @rrrrrrrix, via email to ryan@whatthefuck.computer or on Facebook or on Matrix as @rrix:whatthefuck.computer.