LED Lighting Control


My name is Riley Kolus, I am 14 years old and am currently a sophomore in high school in Burbank, California. I had some questions about a project I'm looking to complete with an arduino board. I'm not sure if this is completely the right forum for this question, but seeing as it has more to do with than just turning on and off LEDs, I figured I'd put it here. Anyway...
My high school has a dance group that recently saw the dance crew iLuminate on America's Got Talent, performing with suits embedded with LEDs and electroluminescant wire. They want me to make some for them. Having read an article in Wired magazine about a man who created an LED Suit controlled by his iPhone with an Arduino, I think this would be the tool to use. I would like to run el wire and LEDs through the arduino that can be controlled remotely from a computer via wifi. So here is my list of questions:
-Is arduino the platform to use for the project? If so, which board?
-Can the board stand alone in control of the lighting voltage or is another piece of hardware required? (excluding a battery and a wifi emitter)
-Is el wire compatable with this project? Or are LEDs really the only option?

I have a little less than a year to complete this project, and I will learn whatever code is necessary to do so. If anyone has any answers to these questions, or any suggestions for the coding to be done, it would be much appreciated. Sorry if this was a little long, its my first time with this kind of stuff. Thanks for indulging me!

Hi Riley,

You have a major project in front of you. I'll try to give you some pointers.

First...yes the project is doable, but it's going to be complicated. Try to figure out what you really need or not...for example, does the lighting really need to be controlled via wifi or could you script it all?

You can definitely control EL strips with Arduino; here's a shield from SparkFun for it: EL Escudo - COM-09259 - SparkFun Electronics

There's a million examples of controlling LEDs, so no need for more detail there.

As far as which board to use - that depends on how many things you want to control independently...if you need a ton then the Mega Is the way to go, but be warned that you'll probably have to do some manual soldering to get it to work with most Ethernet shields (they usually use SPI to communicate, which is on pins 10-13 of the regular board but 50-53 on the Mega).

Good luck with your project.