We feature a lot of projects here at Hackster that use retro tech in interesting ways. It’s always nice to see vintage devices that have been brought back to life and made useful again — a welcome change compared to the largely disposable products that we’ve grown used to in recent years. For the most part, those devices do something similar to what they were originally designed for, like an old radio being upgraded with modern streaming capabilities. But, Nate Damen did something really unique and turned a vintage TV into a helmet for public performance art.
The television Damen chose is a very cool portable RCA Victor CRT model from the ’60s that has great art deco vibe to it. All of the original internal components have been removed so that it can be worn as helmet, but from the outside it looks unmodified aside from the LED strips. When it’s turned on, those WS2812 LED strips light up with various animations and positive messages. It’s controlled with an ESP8266 that connects to the Internet through a hotspot running on Damen’s phone.
That makes it possible for Damen’s Twitch followers to actually change what’s being displayed on the LEDs by entering commands into the chat. As the name Atltvhead suggests, Damen lives in Atlanta and wears the TV around the city as a sort of performance art piece. As you can tell in the video above, it garners quite a lot of attention. Considering the feel-good nature of the messages and the unusual sight of seeing someone wearing a TV on their head, it’s easy to see why.