Heartbeat Straight Jacket

Contributors: Nate, Toni_K
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The Heartbeat Straightjacket is a standard canvass straight jacket, with some fancy electronics, to create a sweet costume with remote wireless capabilities. To get the full effect, a person holds a special stethoscope to their heart, and they see their heartbeat displayed on the straight jacket that I am wearing.

I wanted to create a project around EL (electroluminescent) wire - sometimes called cold neon. It's this neat, very bendable, very bright wire that glows nicely in low-light situations (like Halloween!). With a little work, you can control EL and get some interesting displays. On top of that, I needed a warm costume as the weather in Boulder can get pretty ugly at the end of October (it usually sleets). A straight jacket was the perfect platform for the electronics, warm, and just weird enough for Halloween (and Burning Man).

Stethoscope Interactivity

I wanted to create a fun way to interact with the jacket. I could have used a heart-rate strap or some other way of picking up the user's heartbeat, but I wanted to use a stethoscope because I thought it would be more friendly than asking someone to strap

Required Materials

Several different materials are required for this project. We've made this handy wishlist to help aid in you picking out your parts.

Additional materials required:

  • Straight Jacket- Start by looking on EBay. Monkey Dungeon is pretty epic. ~$60
  • Stethoscope - Shop around on Froogle. I spent around ~$25. "Sprague Rappaport", whatever that means.
  • Buttoneer - The creator of this device probably never expected it to be used to attach EL wire to clothing, but it works magnificently!

Suggested Reading:

If you aren't familiar with the following concepts, we recommend reading up on these before attempting to follow along with this project.