November 2013

Neopixel Ring Goggles

When they were first introduced, I ordered a couple of Adafruit’s NeoPixel Rings that have 16 RGB LEDs in a 1.75″ diameter ring. I hadn’t decided exactly how I was going to use them but when I saw Phil Burgess’ Goggles — I knew I had my project. The rings fit perfectly in most 50mm round goggles. Phil gives an excellent tutorial on making the goggles on the site. The site has really made a whole range of projects easy and accessible to a broader audience. So I thought I’d cover a few specifics of my build that might be helpful to others.

I chose a pair of inexpensive welding goggles ($7 on Amazon). These goggles have some assembly advantages. The lenses screw off and the ball-chain link between the goggles docks in a slit on both sides. This makes it possible to insert the electronics after soldering everything together as shown above.

For my wire I used the color stranded wire contained in 4-conductor phone cable. This wire is thin enough that one doesn’t have to make the more involved inline splices detailed in the tutorial. I used a 3.3V Trinket for the microcontroller and just fed the multiple wires I wanted to connect through the same hole in the microcontroller and soldered them. I chose black wires for the 3 lengths of wire that bridged between the goggle eyes so they blended in. I tested a number of materials and chose some dense white foam for diffusers. Hot melt glue then holds it all together. The Trinket and Neopixel ring combination makes for an easy build. The goggles and wire I chose made it even easier. As of this writing, I just used the software on the tutorial site. I’ll post my updates if I do further customizations.

Update: I wore these for 2+ hours on Halloween and was surprised how long the rechargeable 150mAh LiPo battery lasted — I’ve never actually had them on long enough to find out the limit.