Arduino Technology
Hatduino… digital compass in a hat

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My friend Mikest just made a very fun project, a digital compass in a hat

Hat Development Platform, v1…External hatband has ultra bright RGB 1W LED mounted in center, regulated DC-DC boost convertor power supply, Adafruit Industries boarduino, and a rather generous prototyping area. The possibilities are nearly endless.

LED changes color based on compass heading.

36 thoughts on “Hatduino… digital compass in a hat

  1. How about a row of leds along the brim of the hat. You set a bearing, say 0 degrees, and it displays the heading you want on the brim.

    As the head/hat turns, different leds light allowing you to correct your course.

  2. I had this idea a year or so ago while using a compass module on a robot. Of course, I quickly realized that putting something on your head is an excellent way to prevent you from seeing it.

  3. macetech:
    indeed! i worked around that problem by making it very, very bright. everything in front of the hat is illuminated in a color based on heading. of course, now it suffers from a different problem: it blinds anyone it’s pointed at. not very sporting :/

  4. @The Oracle – it’s not a finished item, it’s pretty clear it’s not.

    “a rather generous prototyping area. The possibilities are nearly endless.”

    prototype / possibilities = not final.

    please keep the comment polite.

  5. @Phil – In my finished designs, I usually leave some form of “prototype space” to keep the “possibilities nearly endless”. IMO it’s just the make philosophy to leave it as open as possible, even if it’s as simple as bringing the unused IO out to solder pads on the PCB to make it easier to add on. So I wouldn’t take that statement to mean it’s a work in progress but of course others are free to read it as they want.

    As for this item, by the time you start wearing it in a hat, at least solder it on some perfboard. Breadboard connections are so fragile you’ll have them fail and never get a good test.

  6. @The Oracle – this is a nice constructive comment, way better than saying “pure stupidity” – thanks!

  7. Some sort of motorized device inside the hat that gently taps the North side of your head would be cool. As you turn while going places the tapping would remind you which way is North. Maybe have it tap you once every 5 seconds or so.

    If it were built into a scout cap you could impress your buddies in your troop by being able to rekon direction without a compass, or even blindfolded after they spin you around a few times.

    Instead of a motor to rotate one tapper, line the cap with several tappers (partially disassembled relays?) and trigger the one or two that are closest to the programmed direction.

    You could do the same with a ring of multicolored LEDs around the hat/cap- the green one points in a specific direction, all others are red or blue. As you turn, the leds shift colors to always point in the same direction.

  8. @The Oracle –
    So far the hat has had a GPS for hatlogging, an accelerometer that turns the LED off & on by shaking ones head from side to side, and the color compass. It’s a versatile little hat. All over the course of an afternoon. The breadboard was pretty awesome for tinkering that way.

    Of course, there are some problems with a breadboard that cropped up during use, none of which where related to the fragility of the connections as one might suspect. (The trick with breadboards is to make sure your jumper wires are flat against the board. If you arc them up and over they’re pretty much guaranteed to fail.)

    The main problem with a breadboard is that it is heavy, and that it deforms the curvature of the hat. After a weekend of camping it had no electrical failures, but my neck was a little tired and the top is was longer nicely arced :(

    Hatduino #2 will have to be surface mount, as it fits in a Fedora…

    @Marc R –
    It must be done! All you need is an arduino, a vibe motor, and a digital compass :) Oh, and a hat. I like the motor idea, the LED is pretty impractical, though I did notice one particular nice effect: while riding my bike through town the reflective traffic signs glowed a different color depending one which way I was headed :D

  9. would it be possible to use this idea to build a compass that has a circle arangement of 8 LED’s about 1″ in diameter and the the LED that is North direction would light up and move as the compass it turned?

  10. I’m guessing the compass used is 5V (hence the DC-DC step-up).

    Can anyone recommend a good 3.3V option? This looks like a job for a Lilypad.

  11. This one is extremely looking one of the best way to make it. I am really highly impressed to see the Digital compass hat. And the Top hat is really looking so cool with the same feature. This one is extremely excellent way to increase the impression of our hat. Thanks for sharing some fabulous information about it.
     

  12. This one is extremely looking one of the best way to make it. I am really highly impressed to see the Digital compass hat. And the Top hat is really looking so cool with the same feature. This one is extremely excellent way to increase the impression of our hat. Thanks for sharing some fabulous information about it.
     

  13. This one is extremely looking one of the best way to make it. I am really highly impressed to see the Digital compass hat. And the Top hat is really looking so cool with the same feature. This one is extremely excellent way to increase the impression of our hat. Thanks for sharing some fabulous information about it.
     

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