The original inspiration behind this project was the innocent fondness of the human heart.  I feel like when we’re alone our hearts are colder. They beat persistently, but slowly onward.  Introduce someone alone to company and our heart comes alive.  This amulet is a representation of that.  Of the fondness between kindred spirits, or simply the warmth between you and those close to you. It glows gently and slowly with a blue-green hue when the wearer is alone (or more precisely when not facing anyone or anything directly).  As the wearer moves closer to someone the shell changes in hue and pulses faster.  When facing another soul up close, the shell shines red and beats quickly, much as the heart behind it.  Named after the Egyptian goddess Amunet, the Hidden One, this amulet reveals a bit of our human nature.

Machine carved from pine and an epoxy resin cast, this rather large neck piece features an owl with wings reminiscent of Egyptian designs and a scarab beetle symbolizing the everlasting nature of love eternal.  The resin cast, machined to fit in assembly with the body of the necklace, appears as the shell of the scarab beetle. 

The outside is hand painted and the shell sanded and buffed. The electronics inside are mounted to a isolation routed pcb I designed and soldered together by hand.  The distance is measured by the ultrasonic rangefinder that doubles as the eyes of the owl.  The computing is done by an Arduino Trinket and powered by a 3.7V 500mAh li-poly battery, with power boosted to 5V by an Adafruit PowerBoost charger board and illumination is provided by a twelve pixel RGB NeoPixel ring.  The animation to the pixel ring get’s drawn in three superimposed layers.  The distance pulled from the rangefinder effects both the red to blue value ratio and the duration and frequency of each light pulse, also randomly assigned low values to the green LED on each pixel provide a twinkle effect.

Amunet was my first Reactive Art project and turned out significantly larger and brighter then anticipated.  As mentioned the bulk of material is pine with the shell cast from epoxy resin.  The whole project took about 30 hours to complete including material prep, routing, and painting each of the three pieces of the amulet assembly, designing and isolation routing the circuit boards, programming the Trinket, and soldering together all electronic components.

Overall the effort to create Amunet more than accomplished it’s intended purpose.  It introduced me to electronics on a level more fundamental then ever before and forced me to pick up a few soldering and programming skills.  It also let me create something original and beautiful that still brings me joy to wear and explain.