The Technomancer at Arisia!

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This past weekend I packed up and headed to Arisia to work, play, socialize, and, finally put all the costume elements together and become… THE TECHNOMANCER.

The Technomancer!

The Technomancer!

This was the final unveiling of the entire costume the magic staff was created to drive. I’d been adding parts and components for weeks, waiting for others to come in, etc – and in the last week, it all came together.

In summary? It went GREAT. Lots and lots of awesome feedback, oohs and ahs, and tons of geeky conversation around the staff and other parts of the costume. I did learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t work when doing a costume this involved, and while I’m nowhere near done, I’m at a point where I can pick up all the pieces and go to an event, and I’m pretty sure it’ll work well.

Here’s a rundown of everything I added to make the full image work:

  • First, thanks very much to Starlit Creations for making a custom ‘wizards robe’ for my 6’6″ form. She did a great job, exactly to my specs, and it fit me wonderfully.
  • The second big add was a UVEX “Bionic” (yeah, not my name, sorry) faceshield.  I’d been digging around for some sort of ‘mask’ that I could mirror and cover my face, giving that ‘blank look’.  After looking at various environmental filter systems and masks, this shield was exactly right.
  • I added a sheet of ‘one way’ reflective film on the inside of the mask – this turned out to be tremendously difficult as the faceshield needs to flex both horizontally and vertically when being installed, so I couldn’t set the film on the surface while it was on the flat, I had to do it while it was installed, which ended up with some bubbles and wrinkles.  All in all not bad, but I’d like to try to get it perfect.
  • A turtleneck shirt to hide ‘skin’ showing on the neckline, and hide my arms.
  • A pair of black leather driving gloves
  • An extra long belt from my SCA garb
  • My boots from said SCA garb
  • Two lengths of light green lit EL wire and battery packs.  These unfortunately were a disappointment.  Not very bright, and awkward to work with.  I’ll be reworking this part of things.

All assembled, it felt comfortable, looked great, and I was ready to go out in public.

A couple things became apparent really fast…

  • If a person can’t make eye contact with you, they’re nervous and aloof.  They couldn’t see my face – and at least in US culture, the first part of a conversation is making eye contact, which is sort of like “Is it okay to talk to you?” – I guess that’s sort of the point of the ‘faceless’ costume – to make people a little uncomfortable.
  • The mask made it very hard for me to speak loud enough for people to hear me.  Sometimes if I got into a geeky conversation, I’d just flip the mask up – which, naturally, destroys the presentation.  I’m considering a voder-type arrangement moving ahead so I can talk and people will hear me.
  • The mask / hood arrangement can get hot.  Here’s a little secret, I was actually wearing shorts under the robe – so that part was nice and cool (and no one noticed), but I may need to come up with some sort of air circulation solution for the mask.
  • Also, the hood and mask pretty much eliminated my peripheral vision.  Might need to work on that part.
  • The gloves made it hard to feel where the control buttons on the staff were.  That’s definitely up for a change.

I wore the costume and staff for a few hours on Saturday night, and had lots of people taking pictures.  The pic above is from the hotel room before I went out (when I was out in public, the hood was actually pulled forward much more) – but you get the idea.  The EL wire is barely visible :(

I have tons and tons and TONS of ideas moving forward, all workable within this costume design (vast improvements on the staff, some small changes to the robes and mask), but for a first time out, I’m pretty psyched!

 

3 Responses

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  1. Hixx says:

    Great project!
    Any chance you will be sharing the code?

  2. admin says:

    The code is really the simplest part of the entire project. I posted some snippets before, but I’ll be happy to post more. It’s pretty hacky :)

    I’m considering reworking it to use an array structure to hold the patterns and then refrefeshing the entire grid when it changes. Might make it easier to do more complex patterns.

  3. Hixx says:

    Any code samples will do, I’m trying to get started with Arduino and RGB leds.
    Thanks!

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