O Christmas tree of digital logic

tree

[Chris] over at PyroElectro is getting into the swing of the holidays with a LED Christmas tree build. Unlike the other electrical Christmas trees we’ve seen this holiday season, [Chris] designed his tree entirely with digital logic – no microcontrollers included.

The tree [Chris] constructed on a piece of perf board is a beautiful spiral arrangement of 64 green LEDs.While we’re sure getting all the LEDs soldered to the right height, [Chris] makes it look so easy to create 3D structures with circuits.

The LEDs are driven with a set of eight shift registers, themselves clocked by either a predictable 555 timer chip or a pseudo-random pattern generated with a circuit built from a few hex inverters. By setting the tree to the sequential mode, a pair of lights travel slowly down the spiral of the Christmas tree. If set to random mode, an random number of LEDs light up and walk down the array of LEDs.

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Man proposes to girlfriend with an arc reactor

arc

Thinking long and hard about how to propose to his girlfriend, [Ed] hit upon a great idea: use an arc reactor as the ring box, with enough LED lights to outshine all but their love, and servos to present the ring and tug at the heartstrings.

[Ed] set about giving his now-fiancé from his arc reactor heart by building a simple circular arrangement of adafruit RGB LED strip and an Arduino. There are two modes for this arc reactor: a light up mode that simply looks awesome, and a ‘ring mode’ that uses two servos to open the front cover and bring the engagement ring into view.

After [Ed]‘s fiancé said yes, the cover in the center of the arc reactor closes for its continued use as a desk ornament. You can check out [Ed]‘s proposal contraption in action after the break.

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Building Pong for an 8-pin micro

pong

For playing around with video signals and trying to create a an interesting microcontroller project, you can’t do better than the classic Pong. We’ve seen our share of microcontroller-based pong builds, but rarely have we seen an 8-pin microcontroller recreate every part of the first video game.

[Tim] started his PIC12F1840-based Pong build with just a few buttons for controls and a video output. This in itself is somewhat of an achievement, as [Tim] used all the data memory and every GPIO pin on this small microcontroller.

He had time to optimize his build and ended up adding the bleeps and bloops of the original Pong to his build. He’s got an interesting design on his hands, and also what is probably the smallest Pong clone in existence.

Manuel the Scottish moose speaks your tweets

tod1

The folks over at Torchbox needed a Christmas card this year. Previously, the most poplar holiday card was a web page that gave their visitors a chance to activate a ‘snow machine’ and spray confetti on a random employee, all while being streamed online. They wanted to replicate this bridge between virtual and real life interactions this year, and Manuel the talking moose was born.

Manuel needed a personality and interaction from random people on the Internet so the Torchbox team decided to make the fake moose head speak tweets in real-time with the help of a Raspberry Pi. The code running on the Raspi gets tweets with a #tbxmoose hashtag, sends that through a node.js script, and finally sent to the Festival speech synthesis system.

A few modifications needed to be done to Manuel before he was presented to the Internet. His jaw was chopped in half and a servo and animatronic controller were added for a proper presentation on Torchbox’s stream of Manuel’s random musings.

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