It a nutshell, the first prototype version of the umbrella is comprised of: EL Umbrella = Clear Umbrella + Electroluminescent Wire (i.e. high brightness sourced from adafruit) + EL Escudo shield & arduino (i.e. an old UNO) & miscellaneous components.
The clear umbrella contains 8 segments of cut and soldered EL wire, which connects to a SparkFun El Escudo board attached to an arduino, and is powered by a 9V battery.
The electronics are currently mounted underneath the canopy of the umbrella in the current prototype design due to the PCB form factor inside a plastic pouch to help keep water out.
Hot glue is used to seal all EL connections and connections between the EL Escudo and EL segments are done via rigid white lead wires.
The EL is held in place by clear zip ties along each of the segments in the underside of the umbrella.
NOTE: Version 1 of the umbrella is visual light display, only. A 2nd version is underway to provide a more reactive experience using sensors and wireless connection for data collection purposes.
The basic EL Umbrella was created in the span of a few hours with most of the work cutting, soldering, hot glueing, and zip tying the segments onto the umbrella.
Electroluminescent Wire (El Wire), Totes Clear Umbrella with wire structure, Hot Glue, SparkFun Sequencer Board, a few dozen Clear Zip Ties, Solder
Hot Glue Gun (i.e. Hot Melt Gun), Heat Shrink Tube (Clear or White), Thinly gauged white braided copper wire, Solder Iron
Here are some early test videos of the apparatus. I still need to test it outdoors and in the rain. Look for some cool photos when the weather cooperates. ;)
This current rendition of the umbrella is not reactive to the physical world.
However, plans for a second version, involve leveraging an EL sequencer and XBEE wireless connection, or going with an WiFi module to provide wireless capabilities to the umbrella.
Possible reactive sources of data include rain droplets, urban noise provided by microphone and filtering, as well as other possibilities.
We are currently evaluating sensors for the best way to do this, and will be testing these shortly.
For more information about this project, or how I can help you in your EL projects. Please contact me.