Super Bowl Football Lamp Keeps You Informed

[David] loves to watch football. After his preferred team lost the playoffs, he wanted another reason to watch the big game last Sunday. He ended up building himself a football-shaped lamp that changes color based on who scored last.

[David] started with a Spark Core and a Spark Button. The Spark is the primary microcontroller and includes WiFi. The Spark Button is essentially a shield for the Spark that includes an accelerometer, some LEDs, and a few push buttons. The other part of this build was the housing. [David] used a toy football he got for free as swag from a parade.

As for the code, [David] started by first learning how to control the LEDs on the Spark Button. Then he wrote his own touchdown function to illuminate the football a specific color. Since the Spark uses the REST API, [David] is able to trigger this function by simply visiting the URL of his Spark. This makes it very simple to trigger the event.

The final part of this build was made easy thanks to IfThisThenThat (IFTTT). This is a web service that allows you to monitor and interact with various online web services. It can monitor one service, and then interact with another based on events that happen in the first service. In this case, [David] is using a “channel” added to IFTTT by ESPN. This channel can trigger when certain events happen for whatever team you specify. For this project [David] is monitoring touchdowns.

After combining all of these various services, [David] had a working light that would change colors based on which team scored. He did notice that IFTTT has anywhere between a 1 and 15 minute delay, and he hopes to improve upon this design by hooking directly to an API and skipping the extra service altogether.

7 thoughts on “Super Bowl Football Lamp Keeps You Informed

  1. But will it be able to tell that it is properly inflated before it changes to indicate who scored?

    Just kidding. Nice project. I can see it being used on those days where you happen to find yourself in the unfortunate position of working while the game is on.

  2. A really cool device would be the one which woke the watcher up whenever the game continues. It was really hard to watch the game from here in Europe, as the game was aired 01:00-05:00 at night. When the NFL-football has so many breaks, such device would really help. Average game has something like 11 minutes of action, rest being commercials, replays and watching players walk around the field.

  3. What about adding more RGB LEDs along the centerline of the ball so that the string is lighted with the team colors and how many is dependent on the ratio between the teams score, perhaps use three strings of lights to display Team colors better.

    IE When the teams are tied, half the ball would be in one teams color and the other half in the other teams; but when one team is winning, the string of LEDs of their colors would be a larger percentage of the ball.

    This Year’s game:
    G G G G R| R R R R R
    B B B B W | W W W W
    G G G G B| B B B B B

    Where last year’s would look like:
    G G G G G | G G G O O
    B B B B B | B B B Br Br
    G G G G G | G G G O O

  4. It’s worth noting that IFTTT’s ESPN channel is nearly useless. I tried something similar during the super bowl, but instead of touchdowns, it only alerted about 20 minutes after each quarter ended.

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