Wingpack Fur Suit
This Project was submitted by Keith Miller
My project was to convert a costume I had custom made to remote control. When I had purchased the costume in 2003, it came with a analog controller that used flex sensors and 556 timers to control the 6 R/C hobby servos in the wings. Shortly after then, the flex sensors started to fail. I then changed to regular pot's, but it was clumsy. In 2004 I had a friend who was into animatronics build me a custom servo controller that gathers serial data from a Compaq Ipaq 3835 pocket pc. I wrote a custom program to send serial commands to this servo controller, which only had 8 outputs. You touch the screen and it sends commands using visual basic for embedded devices. It was not something that worked well since the ipaq had a short battery life and you had to have a wire from the Ipaq to the wingpack. I started to look for something better. The commands that controlled the serial servo controller I was using were simple, but still a bit of a pain. Each servo had its own letter ABCDEFGH, and each position had to be added on. You could just send commands to the servos you wanted to move, but like I said, the method was clumsy. Then I found Parallax's website!
The gentleman I had make the servo controller charged me $100 for the first one, and he wanted $100 for an updated one that controlled more servos, plus had some other features. I found Parallax while looking for something cheaper, and fell in love with the Serial Servo Controller. I then sat down and had to figure out how to make it work. I found a 12 channel wireless transmitter/reciever pair on ebay, and knew that was what I needed. I currently use just 8 of those 12 inputs.
I went to RadioShack and found the "What is a Microcontroller" kit that featured a Basic Stamp 2 micro controller! It took me a few days of waiting for things to arrive while I messed with the WAM kit. Once I bread boarded the basic circuit together I realised that the WAM basic stamp would not fit in the wing backpack. I then ordered a OEM Basic Stamp 2, and when it arrived started installing things in the backpack. Then I had to write the code.. basic stamp makes it childs play, the code is very short.
I've been running on this for years now, and I am extremely happy with Parallax's products! I had to order another PSC, when the one I had somehow burned out the serial input pin so I ordered a PSC USB to replace the standard PSC I had been using. I'm hoping this one lives a good long time. I might eventually change to a Propeller, but that would possibly be over kill. Here is the code I used.
Wingpack Controller Code
I modified the wireless receiver to disable the relays that were activated when a button was pressed to go and save battery life.
A couple of pics of the final product along with some video of the wings in action!
Wings in Motion (youtube vid)