DIY Superhero – Saving the planet one Maker at a time!

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Superhero [soo-per-heer-oh] / noun / a fictional character having extraordinary powers; also an exceptionally skillful or successful person.

Since the proliferation of the Internet, the “do it yourself” (DIY) community has established itself as a place for superheroes to share their cool projects with their fellow passionate doers and Makers. What used to be a hobby relegated to the garage or basement is now available to view by anyone, anywhere.

Close your eyes and think of a superhero. What did you see? Was it a caped crusader flying around, saving the planet from invading space monsters? How about an iron-clad giant with X-ray vision fighting an evil nuclear scientist? Both are valid superheroes, but did any of you think of a Maker, much like yourself, as a modern superhero?

The most common definition of a superhero is someone with “extraordinary powers,” but a superhero can also be defined as someone with “exceptional skills and success.” Remind you of anyone in particular? (We’re looking at you, Makers!) If you think about it, everything a Maker does is the embodiment of ‘superhero.’ Don’t believe us? Here are a few superhuman characteristics of engineers, who make up a large portion of the Maker community:

-          Engineers make the world smarter, safer, greener, healthier and more fun;

-          Engineers protect us with innovative products for everything, everywhere;

-          Engineers dedicate their lives to improving our communities without expecting anything in return;

-          And, without a doubt, engineers are the smartest and bravest people in the world!

We’ve been totally inspired by the thousands of projects that are now posted on forums, blogs and sites that highlight the cool superhero-inspired devices created by Makers like you. Whether it’s a laser-shooting wristband or a pair of jet-propulsion boots – you have taken ‘DIY’ to a new level of cool.

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If you are interested in developing your own superhero projects, we’ve put together the guide below to help you get started. From head to toe, you can easily create your own superhero – ‘DIY’ won’t know what hit it!

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Nothing is more important than protecting a superhero’s head, so consider a helmet with heads-up display. A Jacinto 6 infotainment processor provides rich user interfaces, 3-D navigation, HD video and other interactive capabilities. While you’re at it, adding Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® is a must to stay connected.  We recommend the WiLink™ Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity solution for the best reception. Bluetooth connects to your smartphone for hands-free texting, tweeting and status updates, while Wi-Fi enables you to stay connected to the world around you on the heads-up display.

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When was the last time you saw a superhero wearing a watch? Check out the ultra-low power MSP430™ microcontroller (MCU) to control your battery-powered control panel with haptics. We recommend the DRV2667 piezo haptic driver to bring even more interaction and efficiency to your system. Since superheroes value strength, build the interactive control panel with a motor-controlled, ARM® processor-based robotic arm. A highly efficient motor driver like the DRV8842 will get high performance automation and the ability to move your arm with ease!

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Even the simplest superhero costumes need a bit of flair. Shine a light in the shadows by adding LED lights to your chest. The LM3410 lets you incorporate a high-efficiency and cost-effective LED driver for up to two individually dimmable LED strings to your suit – all powered by 3 AA batteries! A C2000™ Piccolo™ MCU with an optimized DSP core and powerful peripherals provides the processing capability and integration to drive low-cost, dynamic and energy-efficient LED systems for the most light-savvy superheroes.

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Combine TI’s CC2541 Bluetooth low energy and SoC or the CC2541-based SensorTag development kit with an ultra-high precision 18-bit DAC9881 data converter and zero drift OPA333 operational amplifier to track exactly what time you will reach your distressed victim. Take advantage of your boots making contact with the ground as you run to store up energy for the long-haul. A TPS62736 buck converter handles the power management features of your energy harvesting system, which paired with an MSP430 MCU, can keep your suit powered for days! If you’d rather have a more traditional power supply – consider a wireless charging system and eliminate unnecessary cords. TI’s next-generation wireless power solutions include the bq5105x receiver and bq500410A transmitter because every superhero needs a sidekick!

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Just like the movies, superheroes always give an inspiring message after they’ve successfully saved the day. We’d love to see what “super devices” you’ve built with TI parts – so please post photos and videos below or online, and share the link with us on social media. 

We wish you all the best in your heroic endeavors!