My current plan for world-domination through illuminated fashion: a programmable LED swimmable mermaid tail.
Electronics and water don’t play well together. I am starting small, though I have to admit the more I play around with LED wearables, the grander my vision gets. I’d better get started on this tail soon or it’s going to have so many bells and whistles that it’ll never get finished.
I just got back from NC Merfest (blog entry about that very soon!) where the Mermaid Atlantis and I showcased our newest collaboration: glowing LED mermaid seashell bras.
Atlantis specializes in silicone cast seashells and they’re really gorgeous and durable. My initial idea was to encase the LEDs and electronics in silicone, thus waterproofing and diffusing them in one easy step. However, after a few prototypes we changed the design a bit (LEDs too close to the surface of the silicone shells read as “glowing nipples” which was NOT the effect we were going for!).
The result is a super cool, swimmable waterproof seashell bra that looks and feels amazing underwater!
The shells are Mermaid Atlantis’ “D Shells” product – slightly larger than the standard “C” shells she sells, and a bit thicker. I encased the LEDs themselves in plastic to keep them waterproof and add to the diffusion, and then set them on the bra behind the seashells.
The LEDs are Adafruit’s neopixels – they’re incredibly bright and are run from a Gemma and a very small LiPo battery. The electronics live in a small waterproof case which is hidden at the back of the neck (beneath long flowing mermaid hair). I haven’t tested them for depth yet, but I swam down at least 8 feet and they continued pulsing and glowing in a most delightful way. 🙂 And the nice thing about this setup is that they’re programmable – I can change the color or pulse rate or brightness in just a minute or two.
We also wore them with matching slinky sequined Mermaid dresses at the Merfest’s Masquerade Ball and felt like we absolutely stole the show. 🙂
Video of lots of mermaids swimming at MerFest! You can see me swim by in the shells near the end.