Lighting System Test for Sarah Palmer Suit

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.


Commander Sarah Palmer – Build Update #1

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%

Bodysuit Planning

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:

Cooling Patches
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.

Water Cooling Tubing Layout
Possible layout for cooling tubing withing the cooling patch.

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.

Cooling Patch Locations
Cooling patches located at the pulse points of the body. *model image courtesy James_005

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.

Cooling System Transport Lines
Possible locations of transport tubing to bring coolant from the equipment to the cooling patches. Red is on the outside surface of the bodysuit, orange is hidden within the bodysuit. * original model image courtesy of James_005

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:

Armor strapping

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.

Armor Strapping Locations
Planned locations of the major armor strapping locations. Red shows the shoulder harness and waist belt, which will become the foundation of the weight bearing pieces. * original model image courtesy of James_005

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.

Locations of quick-connect ports.
Areas where connection points of the equipment to the body suit could be located. Blue is for cooling system, red is for electronics. * original image model is courtesy of James_005


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 locations
Locations of the different levels of padding. Yellow is no additional padding, orange is moderate padding, red is maximum padding. * Original model image courtesy of James_005

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.

Quilted Details
Quilting at the neck and waist area of the Sarah Palmer bodysuit.

Hexagonal finish

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.

Stiffened pieces

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.

Ingredients Required:

  • 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
  • Paint

Next Update:

Body-suit: Planning Materials and Costs, and Pattern Construction

International TableTop Day

International TableTop Day – April 5, 2014 and are excited to present an International TableTop Day event in Surrey, BC! We will have multiple gaming tables and well over 50 games to choose from. Learn new games, teach a game, or just join in for an afternoon of tabletop gaming. Besides all that goodness you can also look forward to:

  • Game demos of Kingdom Bots from Giant Monster Games.
  • Episodes of TableTop projected while you play
  • Award presentations for the winners.
  • Chances to win PRIZES for showing up, taking part, and winning.

We’re working on even more special surprises for the day, so stay tuned!

Space is limited, so RSVP. Sorry to say, this is a dry event – no liquor. Drinks and snacks will be available, but please bring a snack to share too.

Date: Saturday, April 5, 2014
Time: 1:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Location: Surrey, BC (Newton neighbourhood). Address will be emailed to you upon RSVP.
Cost: Free! Please bring a snack to share.
RSVP: On the website, on the Facebook event page, or email us!

International TableTop Day
International TableTop Day

For more info, please email us at

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