I describe the “PULSE PACK” as being the platform that runs the SHE BON project. It connects everything with data and power, yada, yada…. but what is its function? Tell me more about this brain, right?
When I first started daydreaming about the cortex of the whole project, it was a matter of aesthetic rather than function. I saw a mass of cables and wires branching out like veins from the upper back of a human… making the body look like a fruit waiting to be picked from a branch of some sort. I wanted to see lines spilling out from one location; the visual affirmation that everything has a definite point of origin.
There were a few influences in my life that had my head in a particular place that month. One was a strange jaunt to a “fetish ball” I attended with a friend, and the other was the submission to a summit in Tokyo I wished to attended. The mixture of hypothetical kawaii against a backdrop of maybe fetish and frustration forced my neurons to produce the heart-shaped backpack. The poetry of it all.
From the moment my mind saw it, that was what it had to be. The precise level of function could be negotiated along the development process… and so I set my sight on acquiring a big shiny red heart backpack! Cake. All I had to do was buy one off amazon and get to modding it, right?
As you likely know, the internet does not have such a thing readily available as I had hoped. So I had to sit tight and make one from scratch in the best way I knew how.
…And what would be this “point of origin” that the wires stem from? Well that obviously had to be a circuit board, so it might as well be a heart too. I could have made the board look like a biological heart organ and all- but the hard pixelated edges of the symbolic heart were easy to work with when connectors entered the equation (which they soon did).
Once these design decisions were made it became clear to me that I was actually making a wearable breakout board. The delicate wires coming off the PULSE circuit board inside of the backpack would feed out into much larger, more industrial cables that rout to the area of the body bring serviced.
The question became: Will this heart board do ALL of the computing, send ALL of the instructions, and house ALL of the sensors, and shields, and everything else each individual peripheral might need? (much as the croissant board for the tasting feet).
While this would have been a viable choice, it made more sense that the peripherals have some agency of their own. Much like organs in the body, they all function to perform their designated task independent of the brain, not requiring constant instruction. The brain’s job is to oversee and decide how the data collected by the organs should be used.
So currently the plan is that each individual peripheral have its own designated circuit board that allows it to run independent of the PULSE board if necessary.
THE PULSE V. 1
The first version of the PULSE board is more or less a repackaged Arduino MEGA. It has an ATMEGA2560 as its brain, which breaks into (9) individual 6 pin molex connectors along the edge. (there are even (14) shiny RGB LEDs along the back side for extra flavor!)
The traces are all wiggly. That’s a nice feature…
Since the one peripheral I’ve made so far has it’s own dedicated board (the fillet-o), the first version of the PULSE does little more than provide power to the salmon.
As it was the path of least resistance at the time, I also converted the molex that came off the circuit board into CAT5 at the edge of the backpack using a small circuitboard as an adaptor:
It works. It isn’t very pretty……. or optimal. But it gets the job done for now. (especially since those fancy wires aren’t doing anything at all for the moment)
Since I have removed much of the purpose from the big pretty PULSE board, what might it’s function become now that it no longer supports anything with data?
THOUGHTS FOR PULSE V. 2
I was brainstorming with my friends in the kittie pool the other night and it was suggested that the PULSE PACK might have less to do with sending data, than simply listening and logging information from all the other peripherals.
Since I’ve decided at this point that ALL of the augments will have their own dedicated circuit board installed within each system, everything should happen locally. What the next version of the Pulse board will do:
- provide power
- receive and log data
- send that data as its being received to some sort of display unit that the wearer can use to track their status in real time
So the backpack will soon be primarily responsible for carrying “baggage“, if you will.