i got a CRT monitor from my work's recycling cage! i'd like to turn it into a helmet with a working led matrix display. not sure what LEDs to get though.. i want it to be low-resolution, so the LEDs can be diffused to the size of coins. maybe i should use a series of horizontal LED strips so i can see through the spaces between? maybe with cloudy plastic strips over the LED strips to diffuse them?

Update: I've made progress on the circuit plans, thanks to @f0x and @syntacticsugarglider! I also hollowed out the CRT monitor (without shocking myself)!

The LED matrix will be made of horizontal 60 LED/meter ws2812b strips. The pixels will be 16.67mm away, and the strips are 10mm wide, so I'll be able to see through up to 40% of the screen. I'll input commands using a mini keyboard strapped to my arm.

I'm using a Circuit Playground Express microcontroller because it's what I have on hand.

The resolution will be 19x14. Not a lot, but enough to display simple and cute animations like hearts and falling rain and marquee text.

I've never made an electronics project this complicated before, but I should be able to finish this by Halloween! Advice and suggestions are welcome as always.

update: ws2812b test successful :blobcat:

(turns out i don't need that level shifter chip)

looks like i can squeeze in 20x15 pixels instead of 19x14!

also, i'm gonna cut off and reuse the front of the motherboard so it can hold these buttons in place for the monitor controls. i'll use the power LED too!

progress! i set up the strips on cardboard as a prototype so i can work on animations

i made a few more! you might recognize what this is based on.

here's one loosely based on the ripple of a drop of water. took me a while to figure out a good algorithm for this. 💧

i made a few more! here's a hue-cycling logarithmic spiral

got some plexiglass and tinted it with window film! trying to figure out how to piece everything together. i 3d printed some things to hold the glass in place but i'll probably just glue it instead.

another issue: sometimes a data pin connection will stop working right due to poor electrical contact with my lazy strip connectors (i think?), garbling all the strips after it until i wiggle the connector a little. unfortunately, the poor connection sometimes results in violent strobing, so i need to prevent this so i don't give anyone a seizure.
so, i think i need to solder all the strips. this will take about 60 solder joints and i've never soldered before. i guess it's time to learn!

i soldered all the strips together last night! i haven't had any signal corruption since.
also, here's a new animation, a lissajous curve.

any suggestions for what i should wear for this costume besides the monitor helmet and a mini keyboard strapped to my arm? my best idea is a hoodie with the hood down, so that it helps obscure the neck hole.

i got a mini ps/2 keyboard connected to the microcontroller! i'll scratch off or cover up the keyboard's logo before i wear it on my arm.

here's a new animation. i made a few others that are dependent on gravity / head tilt, but i'll wait to show those off until the helmet is put together.

i've been struggling with upholstery foam for several hours, trying to make this monitor shell wearable. i think my head is too sensitive 😢

i found a foam setup that fits my head pretty well, but this plexiglass panel feels heavier than i was imagining. i think i'll have to add a counterweight in the back and endure some neck strain. next time i'll use something lighter, maybe thinner plexiglass or some other plastic sheet. i should still be able to wear it long enough to impress people

my CRT helmet is all wired up and wearable! i put a water bottle in the back as a counterweight. the visibility and one-way mirror effect are both pretty good.

still don't know what to wear with it. might just go with a boring grey outfit? i'll try at least making a necklace out of a Mini Gender Changer adapter. looking forward to impressing people with this

i replaced the plexiglass with a thinner pane made of polycarbonate! it's flexible, so i bent it to be convex so it fits the shell better and looks more realistic. it's also lighter than the plexiglass, so the helmet is way easier on my back now!

this video no longer reflects reality for two reasons: i have since cleaned my room, and accidentally broken my mirror

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here's a showcase of some of the animations!

wow, i woke up to 100 notifications! you all really like my tv head :blobcat:
here's more info about it if you're interested rose.systems/tv_head/

@vivianrose This is amazing. I like the matrix bytedrops, the eye and the bouncy ball the most! Great job!! You should wear a suit with it :3c

@vivianrose this is cool as heck and I’m glad you posted this latest video, bc none of the older ones would load. Great job, and it seems like you learned a lot too!

@vivianrose okay, I've just come across this just now and these are INCREDIBLE, I've always wanted to do some form of display on my own CRT head! Great work!

I absolutely love the ones that are gravity/tilt controlled, those are subtle but they really work well :)

@Tama23 thank you!! i love how it turned out. i'm actually helping my friend Eleanor make one of her own so i'm hoping we can go out and impress people together before i graduate!

let me know if you make a display for yours and want some advice. the one for Eleanor is gonna innovate some features. We plan to align the strips diagonally to give her a denser resolution, and we got a bluetooth-capable microcontroller so she can control it from her phone (because she wants to type Chinese text)

@vivianrose ye i just saw, me really likey :blobcathappypaws:
I should make one too, I have an arduino laying around and finding a CRT shouldn't be hard

@KellyOTI ty!! i actually made a second, improved one with a friend this year but i never bothered posting about it: rose.systems/tv_head/#mk2

@vivianrose cant seem to get that link to load but id love to see it

@vivianrose nvm actually i simply have a bad connection lol

@vivianrose extremely sick and cool and epic nice work i love tv head shit

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