In the late 90's to early 00's Daft Punk went from wearing simple Halloween, novelty masks to complex robot helmets. The now defunct LED specialist company LED FX is credited with the creation of the helmets, although it is assumed the helmets themselves were made by special effects company Alterian Inc. Both helmets featured intricate displays that were capable of displaying text, and syncing images and patterns to music. It's said that these impressive helmets cost $65,000 to produce.
- Advanced LED displays.
- Backpacks containing processors for the LEDs (initially battery powered, eventually DC powered).
- Ribbed black tubes containing wired running from backpacks to helmets (amount of tubes varied depending on animation displayed).
- Ribbed 'neck seals' that covered the neck.
Lesser Known Features
- Both costumes had optional "gauntlets" that had illuminated buttons that controlled stored animations.
- The rear half of both Thomas' and Guy's helmet were removable to provide better access to the wires.
- They were able to see through pin-hole sized openings in front of their eyes (source: Fader magazine interview).
- Thomas's helmet had ventilation holes just below his visor.
- Guy's helmet was capable of displaying text, just like Thomas'. Although rather than scrolling vertically like most would think, the text scrolled horizontally (left to right). As a result, only 2-4 letters could be seen at a time thus making it very difficult to read.
Often mistaken for the Discovery-era helmets, these "transition" helmets started making appearances after the release of Discovery and before the release of Human After All. Little is known about these helmets, as research has shown they have never been mentioned specifically in any sort of publication to date. It has been inferred from reference photographs that these were all new helmets, based on a new sculpt, presumably made by Alterian Inc. These helmets lacked the complex LED displays of their predecessors (no backpacks needed), thus allowing Thomas and Guy-Man a greater range of movement and visibility.
- A brand new sculpt of the helmets including smaller size and sharper details.
- New but smaller LED displays.
- Thomas' display is comprised of a single row of red LEDs.
- Guy-Man's display appears to be limited to just two greed LED eyes (although not commonly used).
- Thomas' visor is tinted red, Guy-Man's is mirror gold.
- The helmets separate into two halves.
- The back of Guy-Mans helmet is now permanently present, and the gap is filled with fake green, white and red wires.
- The best way to identify these helmets is through Guy-Mans reflective gold visor.
- These helmets actually appear in the infamous "Gap commercial". They were worn by Daft Punk while they were dancing and then switched back to the Discovery helmets at the end of the advert.
- It's presumed the same gloves were used from the Discovery costumes.
Human After All Era
Just as Daft Punk took a different musical direction with their third studio album Human After All, in 2005 the duo reinvented their image as well. From this point forward, Daft Punk were viewed in the public eye with their now trademark leather jackets and LED-less helmets. In terms of the helmets, they appear identical to the transition helmets in size, shape and detail. As a result, it's believed the masters for the Human After All helmets were modified versions of the transition helmets, not entirely new sculpts. The being said, the changes in the helmets are plain to see, and are listed in detail below.
- No LEDs, except for the ones on Guy-Mans ears that are purely ornamental.
- Thomas' mouth is no longer a smile, but now just a lit.
- Both visors are now black.
- Neither wear the ribbed neck coverings as seen in previous incarnations.
- New gloves: during a fan interview with Thomas he remarked that their new gloves were made out of a Lycra/Spandex material, with pads in the fingertips to make it easier to use their instruments. The gloves appear to be elbow length.
- Once again Thomas' helmet underwent two main ear variations during this era.
- Simply speaking Thomas and Guy-Man were wearing the same gloves, differing only in colour. In the past they have had individual gloves made uniquely for their own hands.
To coincide with their cameo appearance in Tron Legacy, Daft Punk's helmet production was taken over by Ironhead Studios, the special effects company working on the film. The helmets featured a dull metal finish and white/light blue LEDs. Ironhead Studios also made the helmets that Daft Punk have been wearing in public appearances ever since the release of Tron Legacy. Both helmets appear to be brand new sculpts, especially Guy-Man's, which has undergone several alterations. Relatively little is known about these helmets for now, and it is unclear if these new helmets are permanent, or only for Tron related endeavors...
- Guy-Man's helmet now lacks:
- The false wires on the back.
- The false LEDs and audio jack at the bottom of the ear
- The black/dark green circle in the cone of the ear
- In general, Guy-Man's helmet has been streamlined, and many gaps have been filled in.
- Thomas' helmet now has a black mesh behind his mouth
- Their gloves seem all new, including the currently unidentified fabric.
- The LED displays for these helmets were created by A.J. Catalano.
More details will reveal themselves as more reference material becomes available.