iSuit (not the casing part)

Posted by: blahooligan

iSuit (not the casing part) - 04/08/05 05:52 AM

hello all

im brand new to this forum, and im hoping that you all can help me out. im not sure where to put this project since it sorta involves both internal and external modding, but i guess its mostly external. this project has given me some snags in actually assembling it. what im trying to do is take my old G3 iBook, get rid of the normal case, and spread out most of the components from the central processor. like 2 feet away from the processor. now, all i really have to do is extend cables. this is where the problem lies. first, apple has done the ever so wonderful service of making their parts pretty unique. basic computer parts have compatability issues. so i need help with either finding compatible parts or making my own cables. second, i need help with knowing if these extended cables will still even carry a current. third, i need to find a way of protecting the hard drive (padding, shock proofing, cooling, anyhting else). thats all i can think of now, but seeing as its 645 in the morning and i havent slept all night, i will probably have more questions. now, youre probably wondering why this topic is titled "iSuit." well, thats the bigger, grander project. what i intend to do is attach, by way of velcro or sewing directly to or some other method, the stretched out computer to a wetsuit, making it a wearable computer. processor/motherboard on my back, battery and hard drive on my chest, cd on my shoulder, etc. i am aware of the previous wearable mac attempt(s?) but since he hasnt updated his project page in several months and wasnt working with an iBook, i figure its mostly unrelated and hes either given up or its on permanent hiatus. agian its almost 7 am and i havent slept, so forgive me if im wrong. anyway, thats my plan, and im praying you all can help. please email me at (or post... here... more.. :P) with any help! thanks for your time.

edit: by the way i have less than 3 weeks to at least get the laptop stretched out, so time is a factor in this. thanks again/in advance!
edit2: forgot about the iSuit case that is sold for ibooks. the topic has been changed since.

Post edited by: blahooligan, at: 2005/04/08 05:54

Post edited by: blahooligan, at: 2005/04/08 11:05
Posted by: Jias

Re:iSuit - 04/08/05 11:12 AM

I doubt putting a computer into a wet suit will be easy, certainly not a three-week project. Wet suits (by definition) are water-permiable (hence the name) and keep a layer of water between the body and the suit, in the interest of creating insulation. You'll have to water-proof all the components first.

Well... unless you don't plan on using it in the water, at which point I would question using a wet suit. I'd probably go with long johns myself. Just my thoughts.
Posted by: mark

Re:iSuit - 04/08/05 11:52 AM

If you mean this project, yes its pretty much on hold, mainly due to a lack of money, but partially because of a lack of motivation. That aside its boiled down to getting an input device, a couple adapters, and something to carry everything in. Sounds simple but its a couple hundred dollars more than I have to spend.

Back to your problem. You can probably make cables, but I don't know that it would be worth it. All data interfaces have a distance limitation, with some of the parts in laptops I suspect its around a foot. If you want to have the hard drive mounted away from the main system, I'd get a bus powered Firewire to 2.5" drive enclosures and use those in place of homebrew cables. You can do something similar with the optical drive, but you'll want a 3.5" or 5.25" enclosure and a slimline CD to Desktop IDE adapter.

Making your own battery cable is less of a problem - power isn't as picky as data lines.

As for mountings/shock protection/etc, someone else can take a stab at that one. I haven't gotten that far.

Anyways good luck, you'll probably need it.
Posted by: blahooligan

Re:iSuit - 04/08/05 12:21 PM

thanks much for the input guys. to clarifiy, im definitely not using this thing in water. i chose the wetsuit because tehy are normally stylish, black, and very form-fitting. kinda like a super hero costume. and fortunatly thats just a future addition, the 3 week deadline is just for spreading the parts out. anyway, thats that part. mark (or anyone really), if you know any good places to get those parts, it would help a great deal. all my previous modding experience never dealt with switching up or making cables, just light this, paint that type stuff. i know it may seem im in over my head, but i still wanna try this. challeneges keep the mind alive. also, a list of what i need to extend, since i neglected to mention that: the hard drive, the cd drive, the monitor, the power button, and the battery. everything else (mic and airport antennae) is long enough already. agian, thanks for the help and luck. i need all i can get!
Posted by: krusher117

Re:iSuit - 04/08/05 12:44 PM

I'd go with a thin USB based CD optical drive too.

I'd say forget about the monitor and get a pair of LCD glasses for the screen.

Also I'd do a 1-hand keyboard from Frogpad
Posted by: blahooligan

Re:iSuit - 04/08/05 05:27 PM

thanks krusher. it seems pretty much everything is gonna go in through the usb and firewire ports: hard drive, optical drive, keyboard (most likely a frogpad), trackball , and any other peripherals. as for the lcd glasses, i want to go a bit further than that and get a higher-end HMD. one that can do 800x600 resolution. fortunately my budget is designed around that, so now its just a matter or finding the cheapest one. i also want to get a webcam (an isight would be wonderful, just because of its size) and mount thatto either my shoulder or the HMD adn "see" through that. if i do keep the monitor, it will serve the purpose of showing others what im doing and seeing.
Posted by: mark

Re:iSuit - 04/10/05 10:49 AM

Monocular or biocular. 800x600 isn't too hard to find in biocular displays, but its pretty rare with monoculars.

In any case has a good list of wearable displays, among other things, and they're one of the few places I've found where you can buy high end displays, aside from manufacturers and the rare eBay auction.

Another input device to consider is the Twiddler2. It's been the favorite input device in the wearable community for a long time. Its not much more than the frogpads and there the original model can be converted to bluetooth.

Out of curiosity, what do you plan to use the wearable for once you have it built
Posted by: blahooligan

Re:iSuit - 04/10/05 04:21 PM

mark, thanks for the links and advice. ive also looked into the Twiddler and i think im still gonna stick with the Frogpad. i want to keep my hands as free as possible at all times. as far as what im gonna use this for...well, im not exactly sure yet. since im at an art school (god knows why) i figure ill turn it into some sort of "art piece" and maybe do a performance with it. the whole base for this is that the computer world, and apple specifically, produces things that to the general public are shiny boxes of mystery. take the ipod: its tiny, its shiny, not many people know how it works, and its selling rampantly. but when you take it apart, things become more clear and you see how it works. so i want to bring that to the public. by taking my ibook apart and spreading the parts around, its easier to see whats going on inside it. and since its a laptop and already mostly portable, i figure why not indulge the crowd and turn myself into a sort of cyborg with it. also i want to do jsut because it sounds fun and has a very good possibility of looking cool.