The embedded systems team at Simon Fraser University has been busy working on the lighting system for my Sarah Palmer suit. They sent me a video showing a test of the ambient light sensor. Once this system gets installed onto the suit the light sensor will track how bright the area is and adjust the suit’s ambient LEDs to become brighter as the area becomes darker. Watch the video below to see how the system is working during preliminary tests.
Current Component Status:
- Inner Skinsuit – Planning Phase 10% – Overall 4%
- Bodysuit – Planning Phase 70% – Overall 25%
- Chest – Planning Phase 10% – Overall 4%
- Shoulders – Planning Phase 10% – Overall 4%
- Forearms – Planning Phase 10% – Overall 4%
- Thighs – Planning Phase 10% – Overall 4%
- Shins – Planning Phase 0% – Overall 0%
- Boots – Planning Phase 10% – Overall 4%
- Helmet – Planning Phase 10% – Overall 4%
- Buttpack – Planning Phase 10% – Overall 4%
- Cooling System – Planning Phase 10% – Overall 4%
- Lighting System – Planning Phase 10% – Overall 4%
- Controls System – Planning Phase 10% – Overall 4%
- Audio/Visual system – Planning Phase 10% – Overall 4%
- Heads Up Display – Planning Phase 10% – Overall 4%
- M6G Magnums – Planning Phase 10% – Overall 4%
Ideas to integrate:
While constructing the bodysuit I will need to ensure that the ‘cold patches’ for the water cooling system, the armor strapping, the quick connect ports for the water cooling system and possibly the electronics system, the padding to provide the right musculature, the quilted designs, and the hexagonal surface texture are properly incorporated into the design. These are my ideas so far:
I would like to try using medical tubing connected to a CPU cooling system stored within the armor pieces. I am designing the cooling patches to behave similarly to a radiant floor heating system. In testing I will compare the effectiveness of just the tubing with coolant; with the tubing with coolant sandwiched between two gel packets; with the tubing with coolant submerged within a gel packet. The image below, shows how the tubing could be laid out to create a rectangular patch for applying around the neck.
For optimal effectiveness these patches should be located at the body’s pulse points (where blood vessels are located nearest to the surface of the skin). The image below illustrates where these patches should be located.
In order to bring the water to and from the various patches tubing will have to run from the cooling system equipment to each patch. Fortunately the suit already has detailing that provides a great location for this ‘transport’ tubing, see the image below.
While water cooling methods have been proven to reduce core body temperatures, by up to 0.69 degrees celsius per hour with JUST the neck piece, it will have to be tested as to whether this type of cooling system will provide adequate cooling to a person in a thick bodysuit carrying armor and other equipment. Testing of this system in a convention environment will have to be undertaken. Here are some links to articles regarding the effectiveness of water cooling systems and cooling apparel:
- Personal Cooling
- Effectiveness of a light-weight ice-vest for body cooling while wearing fire fighter’s protective clothing in the heat.
- Evaluation of the effectiveness of a commercial cooling collar in reducing body temperature during heat stress: Theoretical modeling of body temperature distribution
- Google Books version of above Thesis
- Stanford is Building a Body-Cooling Glove that is Safer and More Effective than Using Steroids for Athletes
In order to best distribute the weight of the various armor pieces and equipment it is essential that proper support is built into this suit. within the under-suit to allow attachment of armor pieces. As in the post Armor Strapping 101 I will be using a suspender style shoulder harness and belt; these will be separate from the body suit itself, but will weave through and attach to the body suit in various locations. The shoulder rig should be concealed by the torso armor, and the belt will be a separate layer custom made with the same technique as the body suit with reinforcement (to prevent stretching), strapping, and clips integrated into it. The detail photos from the game appear to have a separate waist belt in this style.
Quick-connect ports for electronics and cooling piping.
The various bits of wiring and coolant tubing will have to be able to be disconnected when the armor is removed. In order to speed up this process some form of quick-connect ports will be required at the joining points of the suit and armor. Again the detailing of the undersuit provides some obvious locations for these ports to be located. The image below shows where these ports are expected to be located.
In order to thicken the suit to match reference images padding/stiffening will be needed in particular areas. The image below shows the various levels of thickness over the entire body. The yellow will be approximately 6mm in thickness (1/4″), orange will be doubled to a maximum of 12mm in thickness (1/2″), red will be brought up to a maximum of 24mm in thickness (1″).
Padding will most likely be sculpted to taper at the edge, and will be inserted between the outer and inner layers of the bodysuit. As the padding will not have the stretch that the bodysuit needs the padding will essentially be floating pieces inside the seams of the bodysuit, but not sewn in.
The detail image shown below highlights various areas where quilted designs have been incorporated into the suit. There is not significant amounts of design work visible, but quilting in particular areas will assist with preventing excessive stretching, this will help the suit maintain its shape over time. Quilting will also be used to anchor down the cooling patches in the areas where they are located. Unfortunately thicker rubberized materials do not have enough ‘give’ in their loft to show quilting appropriately. A loft fabric under a thinner neoprene should allow the quilting to show the details as in the photo.
The detail image, above, shows a distinct hexagon pattern that runs along the surface of the bodysuit. In order to achieve this texture I plan to use a small gauge chicken wire, heat the wire in the oven to a high temperature, and place the wire onto the surface of the bodysuit material to melt the bodysuit surface. Once the surface has the basic patterned into it an application of a grey paint, dry-brushed to the upper surface, should bring the material to approximate the correct pattern and colour.
Particular areas of the bodysuit, specifically the spine and shoulders, appear to be a slightly more rigid material and are depicted with a shiny black colour. These areas will be created with a rubber-like material and use sculpted foam padding to create the correct thickness. These pieces will be anchored to the bodysuit as a separate layer, most likely with snaps. The spine piece will be used to disguise the zipper of the bodysuit.
- Medical Tubing
- PVC tubing
- Splitters and connectors for tubing
- Shoulder harness weight rig
- Waist belt
- Armor clips
- Armor strapping
- Quick connect plugs/ports
- Padding foam
- Shiny rubber-like material
- Outer fabric
- Loft fabric
- Athletic mesh fabric
- Hexagonal chicken wire, small gauge
Body-suit: Planning Materials and Costs, and Pattern Construction
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