Enthu Tophat

Project Title

Enthu Tophat


Project Description

This project is an expression of energy and ecstasy that has been represented in the form of a wearable. The objective behind this was a fashioning ensemble that is easy to put on and stands out in a crowd. What began with the thought of creating something that moves or shows movement as an output turned into a headband thats can be worn and the wearer can attach a light sensitive decorative element on it in order to capture light inputs.

The beginning of this process was by trying to look into experiments and examples that deal with moving items or even additions that are attached to the head as a wearable. This led to the formulation of the concept of moving headband that can be fashioned on the head. This device was made sensitive to light using the Adafruit circuit playground which acted as a sensor.

The actuators used in this are sound producing tentacle-like patterns that have been fastened onto a common base that moves with the help of a servo motor. I have created 2 versions of these strap on actuators that can be connected to the CPX.

Keeping in mind the emotional tone assigned, I tried to bring in ‘enthusiasm’ in the various aspects of the design elements that were used in the actuator. In order to display that, I created a flower lookalike piece with multi-coloured petals that had sound making beads attached to it. With the pace of the motion of the servo, these actuators move and create rhythmic sound. Once the entire setup is worn, the CPX acts as a sensor to detect light. If the light in the room is bright, the pace of motion is slow, with a slow rhythmic sound being created. If the lights go dim, the pace fastens up leading to an ecstatic noise. This also works is in a dark room, one wishes to draw attention towards themselves.


Circuit diagram


This diagram shows the attachment of the servo to the adafruit CPX. The CPX was powered up using a 5V power source to get the servo motor running.


Code Link



Videos Links


Final Photos



Process Photos

Images (top to bottom, L-R): acrylic sheets laser cut for the main base to be attached to the servo, coloured beads and sound making beads, tentacles formed using the beads.These are the materials that were used to make the movable actuators that got attached to the servo. The items include:

  • acrylic laser cut base
  • colourful metallic beads
  • sound making beads
  • metallic wires
  • headband
  • black cloth
  • pliers
  • 3d printed servo mount base
  • servo motor
  • CPX adafruit

Using the above tools, i created 16 strands of tentacles. Each tentacle consisted of 13 beads and 2 sound making beads. These were attached to the holes made in the circular base as shown below.

photo-2020-02-24-8-59-37-pm       photo-2020-02-24-9-01-17-pm

photo-2020-02-24-9-01-31-pm       photo-2020-02-24-9-02-09-pm


Images (L-R): Separate tentacles that were made using the coloured and sound beads, the tentacles being attached to the main baseOnce the tentacles were attached to the base, they looked something like this (as shown below). This setup was fixated on the servo motor head using glue gun so that the stability of the form is maintained. These sounds beads were later curved to make a flowery shape. The beauty of this piece is that you can choose and customize the position of the separate tentacles. They can either be spread out or closed in. I also made an alternative attachment which can be used as a customizable add-on for the servo attachment. This base had a star shaped structure and it was made with beads and metal wires.


photo-2020-02-24-10-11-38-pm       photo-2020-02-25-4-36-13-pm

Images (L-R): Flowery shaped structure of the final actuator, the alternative star shaped based which had only beads and wire attached on it.After the making of the 2 actuator structures, the setup for mount was being made. This was made using the frame of a headband, on which black cloth material was stitched on. Before stitching it on, the setup of the servo and CPX was respectively strapped and stitched onto the cloth. for the ease of this, i soldered the ground, power and pin wires to the CPX so as to maintain the distance between the servo and the CPX.



Project Context

The thought process behind the working of this particular assignment began with something to do with motion. The idea of involving a servo motor was something that was quite clear from the beginning. I wanted something that could go as a detachable ensemble that could use the 3d printed flexible servo holder that could be attached to one’s clothes. I began with the thought process of making an angle-like structure that could be placed on the back of a person. The change here was to include a wild flower instead of the typical angel wings that could move with proximity. The flower petals would be resembled by creating long colourful tentacles that would shudder and shake once there is disturbance in their proximity area. Unfortunately, this idea was dropped once i began with the postural inputs of the body. People have different arches in their back and longer tentacles would not work with this setup. And for this idea, shorter tentacles wouldn’t be a good fit for placing on one’s back. Hence i tried for a body part that can sport this ensemble with grace. And after seeing some examples with different head bands, it seemed like the perfect fit. The various top hat decorations made for the head were major sources of inspiration for me. Some are shared below.

f671b91c9b355d6aabfd34fd7fae1f7e-water-bottle-flowers-water-bottles                1ba89555a0f0e306deb9a1e311686cb4

Images link: http://kinsmangarden.ru/cz1oYXR5YW1pbGV0aGpvdXJuYWwud29tZW5zYmVzdC5ydSZwPTcwNjcyMy1zdXBlci1oYXQtZmFzaGlvbi1kZXNpZ24td2VhcmFibGUtYXJ0LTM5LWlkZWFzLmh0bWw=

This wearables hat is a great addition to the regular headband, and they add to the glamour and trend factor of the person wearing it. This project was a major inspiration behind creating that resembles a hat but isn’t one. The thought process led to the formation of a design that can be placed on a headband. Apart from the design inspiration, I also came across another project that influenced the functional working of my headband. This project was on the adafruit website which was a pair of dog ears that moved with head tilt. Here based in the direction in which you tilt your head, the respective ear lifts up. This concept uses servos and the ability of the CPX to behave as an accelerometer. Link: https://learn.adafruit.com/circuit-playground-express-head-tilt-ears.

I also came across a fascinating experiment where they portrayed medusa’s character with moving snake heads on the head of the person wearing it. The artistic character and the classic use of servo to make the snake heads move was fascinating to watch. Link: https://learn.adafruit.com/animatronic-glowing-medusa-headdress.

After going through some amazing works, I decided to give shape to my idea. Since my emotional tone was ‘enthusiasm’ i decided to go with an excited movement or shaky movement compared to an idle one. The headband was covered with a cloth piece which was stitched onto it. The cloth piece had the entire setup on it which included the CPX and the 3d printed servo mount. After carefully stitching the setup, it was powered up using a system (5v). The idle state of the top hat is a subtle rotation motion which makes a soft noise with the sound beads. Once the CPX detects light lesser than its threshold value, i.e. it goes into a dark room, the top hat starts moving enthusiastically with a rapid rotatory motion. This creates a beat like sound from the sound beads.




Astels, D. (n.d.). Circuit Playground Express Head-Tilt Ears. Retrieved from learn.adafruit.com: https://learn.adafruit.com/circuit-playground-express-head-tilt-ears

Blaine, E. S. (n.d.). Animatronic Glowing Medusa Headdress. Retrieved from learn.adafruit.com: https://learn.adafruit.com/animatronic-glowing-medusa-headdress

Hat Yamileth Journal. (n.d.). Hat Fashion Design Wearable Art 34 Trendy Ideas.


Code References

Arduino – Adafruit Circuit Playground library – Hello_CircuitPlayground – Hello_LightSensor

Arduino – Adafruit Circuit Playground library – Servo -Sweep




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