The Colour Stealing Cloak30 September, 2013
The Colour Stealing Cloak is version two of the Cloak of Many Lights. It looks similar, with twinkly white lights under layers of organza*. But this one is different. Let’s say I am wearing it of an evening, and I get chatting to someone, and this person is wearing a nice blue hat.
Me, looking at their hat: “Oh, I like your hat! It’s a lovely shade of blue!”
Them: Oh, thank you!
Me, looking them straight in the eye: “Such a lovely colour! I’m going to steal your colour!!!”
At this point they probably think I am away with the fairies**, but I reach out and touch their hat:
The cloak comprises 150 individually addressable RGB LEDs stitched onto a layer of black fabric.
It’s powered by a hefty Li-ion battery on a shoulder-strap…
… and connected to a glove. The glove has a colour sensor mounted on the index finger and two buttons on the side of the middle finger: one to trigger a colour change, the other to go back to twinkle mode.
There’s an Arduino controlling the whole thing.
Despite months of planning, I had to nip into a campmate’s RV to make the finishing touches to the code on-playa. To my alarm, this is rapidly becoming a tradition.
This little performance generated some pretty nice reactions. One guy told me that it blew his mind, which against the backdrop of Burning Man I consider quite a compliment. However, my favourite was the reaction of my camp‘s fearless leader, who stood for a moment in open-mouthed astonishment and then declared me to be a witch.
* Ok, that’s really the last time I work with organza.
** Which, let’s be honest, is not unusual at Burning Man.