Web controlled Dark Crystal


[Reza] sent in his mood rock. Unlike other “mood” devices, instead of showing what mood you’re in, it shows what mood the internets are in. Two ShiftBrite modules are controlled by an AVR ATmega8 which then connects to a computer via USB. The assembly is placed inside of a piece of alabaster.

USB communications are controlled by the ATmega8 running V-USB (formerly AVR-USB) firmware. [Reza] wrote some code to control the colors from the web using Perl and AJAX. Head over to the web interface to set the colors yourself. We’d love it if a live webcam was added so we could see our mood on the rock itself.


  1. reza says:

    I’ve got a web cam here – any suggestions for some software that’s reasonably lightweight to steam?

    The colors are already changing, kinda strange wondering who’s controlling it..

  2. Mike Szczys says:

    @reza: If you’re running Linux, I’ve had some success with webcam-server:


    If you’re not running Linux you’ll have to ask someone else.

  3. Jason says:

    Nice work, Reza. I want one :) How about making it so when somebody picks a color it fades in from the current color? That could be slick!

  4. Brandonman says:

    Reza – I think it would be cool if you made it to where each time someone visited, they added a certain RGB value to one color, and took one away from the others. That way, it’s could indicate the mood of all visitors at one time. (Or maybe just have a sort of triangle set up – Each vertex stands for a color (I.e.: Red, Black, and Blue. People push an indicator to one of the corners of their choice for each visit, so slowly, it begins to indicate the mood of the collection of people for that day. That’d be awesome!)

  5. napalm says:

    Pretty cool! Reza, what if you set it up to look for keywords in certain groups(eg. happy, sad, angry) on single pages, page groups or pages you’re looking at currently and have it change based on that.

  6. reza says:

    I’ve put this page up if you want to see a pseudo-live feed. Static image updated every 5 seconds. It’s trippy when multiple people use it at the same time as the color changes get interleaved producing interesting strobe effects.


  7. supershwa says:

    Very creative. Nice job reza

  8. nebulous says:

    It’s still my intention to make one of these, to use as status notifications (green pulse for new mail, for example, in between more neutral fading) With the alabaster it looks awesome. How visible is this in day/office light?

  9. reza says:

    It’s actually quite visible and the web cam does not do it justice. Looks much better in person. I just updated the code so the forking step is removed and I stream updated values via pipes. It’s now almost instantaneous and suffers no lag as the value is updated.

  10. Sahal says:

    this is fun for no apparent reason! i just spent like 15 minutes going from color to color and watching it update! it only changed to a color i hadn’t picked once (darn internet people doing it faster than me!)


  11. Sahal says:

    i set it to the color of my date’s homecoming dress (a nice mageroyal shade of purple), even though it won’t stay that way long. just thought i’d throw that out there…

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