The light suit is made from Spandex (elastane) covered by a hexagonal pattern and interspersed with latex-foam. Sometimes it is a one-piece, sometimes more, depending on the character design. Despite a gleaming appearance there is no leather on any of these costumes; all are covered in an industrial ‘buffing’ gloss instead. LED Light is passed through the suit by Light Tape® (produced by Electro-LuminX of Chester, VA) attached to connectors and wired to a PP3 9V battery pack hidden in the disc and then attached to the rear of the costume by magnets.
Around 150 suits were created for different characters in the film. Unusually the costume team was also responsible for their accompanying helmets. Normally these are sourced or made by the prop department, but central to having the suit aligned with the Grid was its absolute symmetry head to toe.
These helmets were incredibly intricate in plan and assembly. They all feature independent power units for illumination, again Light Tape®, ideal for use on rigid pieces, e.g. hard hats.
Considering all the power and technology located inside, the helmet was cooled by internal fans. CLU and all programs loyal to him in the Grid wear suits and drive vehicles emblazoned with orange, red and yellow LED; conversely Grid dwellers wear only white, blue and silver.
© 2010, Chris Laverty