Fire Dance goals

I have fallen for fire dancing, and my apparatus, fire fans.


I was really fortunate to have my first lighting of the fans on a beach.

I have collected some great photos and video of fire dancers on my pinterest board Fire Dance:

I’ve been thinking about what kind of fire performer I want to be.

For this sort of thing it is important for clothing to be somewhat fire resistant, and without parts that fly about, like fringe. Nomex, leather, and 100% cotton or hemp clothing is ideal. For something as bad as fire dance, I really like leather and metal….

And there you have it, metal and leather in all the right places. I love this waist cincher, although I hope it isn’t too functional because I need my freedom of movement.

Make up like this, very mad max, would be perfect. Looks like soot.

Love braided mohawks. This one is excellent.

I think for most performances  I’ll go with dutch braids.


Love hand-painted leather… The chain embellishments are great for dance. Love the apocalyptic feel. I see this going with leather carpenter pants, haven’t come across any perfect ones yet.

Two strands functional


I have successfully created two sections of LED strip out of the total nine sections of strip required. So as to not get overwhelmed my plan is one strand soldered daily. I hooked up the mic and tried to get some “sound-reactive” code to work, but it did not. I may have to end up doing way more work than I expected to get the level of sound reaction I desire. Oh well, if by the beach trip I just have funky lights thats OK.

Quick update

I have to make this fast because I only have a few minutes left of my lunch break.

I went to see Kurios last Friday, it was a good time. It was my second Cirque de Soleil show and I am realizing that they have a schema behind their themes. It intensified my desire to write and direct my own acrobatics show….

I should be starting the Athos series soon, but I have not gotten to use the gear as often as I would like. I usually do my workouts directly after work so I have to make sure everything is charged and ready to go before I leave– and I’m the roll out of bed and go type. I will try to do better.

I’ve been prototyping away and trying out Codebender. For the most part it has all been great. I am having a little trouble contacting my new Gemma board though. I don’t recall having any problems with the other one, but for some reason I can’t find the correct port to upload the code to it in the menu, nor found anything on the Internet yet about my problem.

My projects are on hold until I get my next Adafruit package. I learned more about sewing with conductive material and the like and it turns out that an embroidery hoop is useful. In fact, I think for my project it is very much required because I need to make my circuits as durable as possible given the conditions they will be subjected to. For awhile they were out of stock, but they were finally available today and I jumped on it. I also got some connectors for my rig project, so that I can easily clip together the Neopixel strips while assembling the rig. I don’t know if I mentioned here that I have the velcro ready too.


Prototyped it

This weekend, I did not accomplish too much. I had a bit of an emotional Saturday. Um, a private matter from which I recovered by Sunday. On Sunday, I successfully prototyped the circuit to power and control ~ 1m of Neopixel Strip using the Gemma microcontroller and printed an enclosure to protect the Gemma.

I did this the usual way of uploading via putting test code in a new sketch with the arduino app and uploading it from the computer that way. Later I messed around a little with my Flora microcontroller, though I didn’t get too far, I found out there is a neat service called Codebender. This seems promising when it comes to sharing my project with the world.

I’m a little short on time, so as there doesn’t seem to be a smooth integration between my Instagram content and wordpress, I’m going to have to refer your video needs to said platform, just click the image below.  You can hear the Replicator 2 printing away in the background. :3


So, I’m a little conflicted on this part because, Ben seems to think breaking the neopixel into 1 m sections is probably not necessary. Which would mean, maybe I should only cut 2 m sections?  Yet, the documentation says there will be discoloration and I would like to minimize it, and the recommendation is to power it in branches? But that’s the next step I guess, is to get two LED strips powered in parallel. I might just do 2m first to see how it looks. If it looks good, I’ll just make something else light up with the 1m strip I cut to test.

EDIT (3/31): I totally know how I’m going to do this now. I am going to break it into the 1 m sections, and I was completely overthinking how to get it to happen.

I also did do a squat workout test of Athos, but I’m trying to figure out the best way to provide that information here. You can “Share” your workout using the Athos app, but thus far I am not terribly impressed with the information detail that provides. I probably will need to get some sort of screen capture tool on the Ipod and maybe it has the wordpress app.

Notes on Rig Build

Suspendulum rig is nine 8 ft (2.5m) steel tubes in three foot assemblies.
Each foot assembly is 24 ft (~ 7.5m) long.
NeoPixel Digital RGB LED Strip – White 30 LED have 30 digitally-addressable pixel LEDs per meter. The voltage drop starts to decrease the color after about 1 m, so I will need to deliver the power in branches. Each foot gets 1 x 5V 10 A Switching Power Supply.  There will be 6 strips of 1m per leg (2/steel tube), so each power supply has to power 180 pixels and this project has 540 LEDs total. A little more than what could be run on an Arduino Uno, but I’ll be using the megaA 1000 microFarad capacitor  and 200 ohm resistor will protect the LEDstrips.


All of the ground pins among the strips connected in common, but the +5V from each power supply will be connected to a single length of NeoPixels (to prevent back-feeding).The Neopixels need a 1000 micro-Farad capacitor and a resistor for each power supply. Whoops, turns out I also need this logic level shifter because Gemma is 3.3V.

Likely power draw: 180 NeoPixels × 20 mA ÷ 1,000 = 3.6 Amps minimum
Max possible power draw (all LEDs white): 180 NeoPixels × 60 mA ÷ 1,000 = 10.8 Amps minimum.
I can probably limit this in the software, make sure it always draws < 10 A.


Gemma microcontroller is adhesively fixed to a magnetic pin back, which will keep it affixed to one of the rig feet when in use. Below I have a picture of the microcontroller magnetically clipped on a scarf.

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 1.17.56 AM.png

I plan to print Gemma an enclosure. It has a Attiny85 processor which will be programmed by the aforementioned Arduino mega (IDE set up). Gemma is not compatible with Linux by the way, but fortunately I have a Mac I can use. I will need to do any debugging using the flora, since there is no serial communication from gemma to the computer.  It has 3 I/O pins. It will be connected to a mic sensor (which has been out of stock 😦 ) as depicted below.


This and this is what I need to read tomorrow. The more complicated I want my sound reactions, it may come to the point that I’ll have to read this.

I’m planning on using self gripping velcro ties to attach the LED strips to the rig. This step would be done during set up. Each pole gets two strips.


Upcoming series: Biosensory Insights

Any infonaut worth their salt is a quantified self nut and looking for that special biosensor to make their fitness dreams come true. Looks like for me, it is going to be Athos. Basically, this company sells a fitness shirt and capri that is outfitted with sensors that permit it to measure your muscle activity. I am going to be using it to start a series of posts where I provide information about my favorite workouts.

I am extremely impressed with their interface.  The breakdown of data is amazing. Here’s an example that blew my mind, it tells you how balanced you are at working the left and right side of your body.

When you start the app, there is a warm up period, which you end when you’re done warming up. That begins the workout phase. At that point you click to start your set and click to end your set. You can see your muscle activity real-time and when you’re done with your set you can replay it. It’s crazy. Soo…

I’m going to publish what I learn. I only have the pants for now. They don’t actually have the boob-compatible shirt finished yet, and so I’m going to just wait, you know exercise restraint.  Plus, I’m sure we’ll have plenty to learn about what is happening to the legs in the meantime.

I have the feeling this is going to be immensely helpful to me, but hopefully interesting to anybody else doing movement/flow/cirque exercise and thinking about getting help from biosensors.

Here’s the plan:

Biosensory insights – Aerial poses, free silks
Same side hook
The splits
Candy canes
Side lean
360 drop
Angel hang

Biosensory insights – Aerial poses, free silks climbs
Basic Climb
Russian Climb
Russian Flirt Climb
Crochet Climb

Biosensory insights – Aerial sequences free silks 
Lady in the moon
Crossback Straddle Sequence
Song improvisation: Upside Down by Paloma Faith for a fast pace, excited movement
Song improvisation: Chi Mai  by Escala  for slower, romantic movement

Biosensory insights – Aerial sling
360 drop
Triple 360 drop
Flip sit (sling)

Biosensory insights – Calisthenics
Pull up

Biosensory insights – Climbing
Bouldering V1
Bouldering V2
Climbing, any holds
Climb wall, sloped
Climb wall, not sloped