Lab Notes: Zack’s Wearable RasPi

I’m Zack Freedman, part man, part Raspberry Pi! I’m writing this blog post from a wearable cyborg Raspberry Pi, or as I like to call it, Pi in the Face.

When Rob Bishop of the Raspberry Pi Foundation visited the space yesterday, he challenged the attendees to build a project using the tiny open-source computer. I decided, why not take advantage of its small size to make myself a cyborg?

Wearable technology is my main area of hacking, so I had some parts lying around. The wearable display uses the innards of a pair of MyVu Crystal video glasses – these are tricky to disassemble, so check this tutorial. You can cut off the earbuds and one microdisplay without breaking the functionality. I bent a coat hanger into a behind-the-ear mount, electrical-taped the parts in place, and viola, monocular HUD.

The brains of the operation are, of course, a RasPi. I fitted it with a 2GB micro-SD card in the excellent Quilix pIO mini-adapter, Raspbian, a Duracell phone recharger, and a cheapo mini keyboard-trackpad combo. Apart from the video cable, the system is totally wireless! I zip-tied the RasPi to my belt and the keyboard to my wrist. Everything is wearable with zip ties!

No one brought a wi-fi dongle, so no wireless intertubes. The upside is that when I wanted to go online, I could actually jack into an Ethernet port!

I built this with parts lying around, but a similar setup would cost just over $100. Not bad for a fully-functional wearable computer, especially one with connectivity and around four hours of battery! Plus, ladies love a Pi in the Face. Maker ladies, at least.

If you’re interested in wearables, cyborg tech, and augmented reality, I write about the subjects weekly on my blog. Thanks to Rob and the RasPi crew for making such a versatile micro-computer!