X-mas Hack: 8-channel musical show

We’ve been seeing them appear one house at a time over the last few weeks as Christmas lights are making their annual appearance. Some folks just throw a set of net-style lights on the bushes and call it good but that wouldn’t suit [Noel]. He’s outfitted his house with a show that includes music, 8 controllable light channels, and an Internet interface.

He’s used a plastic toolbox as an enclosure to house everything. Affixed to the base of the enclosure are eight solid state relays for the strings of lights. An Arduino is used to control the SSR switching, playback music through an FM transmitter, and to interface with the wireless bridge.

Rubberneckers can tune their radio to the broadcast frequency and log into the web interface to request their favorite tune or track Santa’s current location. The device even implements VU monitoring to sync the light show with the music. If you want more, watch the video after the break or check out his step-by-step instructions. The Arduino library sure makes the code pulling this all together pretty simple!

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IPv6 to 1-wire protocol translator

[Fli] assembled an AVR based system that can assign IPv6 addresses to 1-wire components. An AVR ATmega644 microcontroller is used in conjunction with an ENC28J60 ethernet controller chip. To get up and running with IPv6 on this meek hardware [Fli] ported the uIPv6 stack from the contiki project over to the AVR framework. Although he encountered some hardware snafus along the way, in the end he managed to get five sensors connected to the device, each with their own IP assigned using the stack’s alias capability.

This is great if you’re looking for a low-cost IPv6 solution. We’re not sure if there’s much demand for that, but it’s useful for that 1-wire home automation setup you’re considering.

World’s largest POV display

How do you convince a power company to let you play with their multi-million-dollar wind turbine? Call yourself an artist instead of a hacker! [Michael Pendry] convinced Siemens to let him install this ‘art’ piece on the rotors of a wind turbine outside of Munich, Germany. It features 9000 LEDs, 3000 on each of the 30 meter blades, and can pump out 20,000 candelas when fully illuminated.

The problem? The blades of the power generator turn extremely slowly compared to fan-based persistence of vision displays. This makes it more of a “long-exposure” display system that is illustrated in some of their press photos. Ok, so the POV is a bit of a let-down, but the display effects achieved are still pretty impressive.

[Thanks Sam]

Arduino shield for Arduino. No, really.

We’ve been accused on more than one occasion…okay, pretty much every single day…of harboring some kind of creepy Arduino love affair. The topic does come up an awful lot here, we’re not oblivious to that, and had been patiently waiting for April Fool’s Day to post an article lampooning the whole situation, both ourselves and critics alike, so that everybody could have a good laugh (or possibly annihilate the entire planet in the resulting flame war, we’re not sure). And what could possibly make for a more self-referential joke than an Arduino shield…for Arduino?

Truth, as it turns out, is stranger than fiction. “Core2duino” is — seriously now, no joke — an Arduino shield containing a second ATmega microcontroller and full complement of I/O pins. The two chips in this Young Frankenstein-esque assemblage coordinate over the I2C bus, providing, at least in theory, more processing power, more I/O, and perhaps a degree of fault tolerance. In reality, we’re pretty skeptical, but do have to give them props for a great Instructable, detailing the whole process start to finish with Eagle CAD files, board etching and drilling, and advice on where to score free Cosmopolitan magazines (it helps “if you know any women,” we’re told).

There’s no indication whether this works with stacking headers to allow for an Arduino shield for Arduino shield for Arduino, or perhaps some Möbius strip-like endless stack of Arduinos. Feel free to discuss in the comments. We’ll be waiting in our concrete bunker 37 miles away!