Now that my LED Mermaid Tail is functional, I’ve been spending every waking minute adding bells and whistles, animations and robust-ification. I’ve got a pool lined up for my very first swim-test on Friday and I’m both terrified and deliciously excited. Will it all short out? Will I electrocute myself? Will the bluetooth controls work through a couple feet of water? And how is the tail going to swim?
For all the questions, I am getting really confident and happy with the software side of things. I discovered the FastLED code library for Arduino, and it’s completely blown my mind. I’m an artist and a performer first and have just started coding Arduino fairly recently, so doing much more than simple color changes was a bit beyond my abilities. This code library has given me dozens of sample animations to tweak on and play with which has made the Glimmer tail so incredibly complex and effective, SO quickly.
Here are a few of my favorites so far:
I’m also dipping my toes (fins?) into the Android pool and working on making a pretty Android app for controlling the tail. I’ve got several different environments I need to think about. Animations for a live appearance need to be different from animations for a photo shoot, and when I do a performance, those animations need to be different yet again. I need brightness controls too, for battery life management and so I can effectively match different performance or photo environments.
This is really new territory for me. Android coding is HARD, you guys. But the Internet is amazing and wonderful and beautiful, and people are so incredibly supportive and helpful, so I’m getting there.
Of course I want buttons that go “boink” when you press them and all kinds of animations and sound effects and junk, but for right now, it works and it looks pretty… so I’m happy.
Tonight I’m doing a sunset photo shoot at the Richmond Marina, and Friday is my first swim!! I can’t wait. 🙂