A TV-B-Gone with a PIC twist


[Kayvon] thought that the TV-B-Gone was a fun little device and wanted to build one, but he didn’t have an AVR programmer handy. Rather than picking up some AVR kit and simply building a replica, he decided to give his PIC skills a workout and build a Microchip derivative of his own.

The PIC-based TV-B-Gone is pretty similar to its AVR-borne brethren, featuring a PIC24F08KA101 at the helm instead of an ATTiny. His version of the TV-B-Gone can be left on indefinitely, allowing him to situate the device in a convenient hiding place to wreak havoc for as long as he likes.

[Kayvon's] TV-B-Gone does everything the original can at just under $7, which is quite a bit cheaper than the Adafruit kit. If you’re not averse to perfboard construction, be sure to check out the build thread over in the Adafruit forums. [Kayvon] has done most of the heavy lifting for you – all you need to do is build it.

Circuit Playground – An electronics reference app from Adafruit

It’s not everyday that we review software around here, but the folks at Adafruit recently put together an iOS app that I figured might be of interest. Their iPad/iPhone compatible application is called “Circuit Playground”, and it includes all sorts of handy electronics reference tools. For the context of this review, it should be noted that I paid for the application myself, and that I have had no communication with the Adafruit team regarding my assessment of the app.

[Read more...]

10 Meter long moving light show is mesmerizing


[Marcus] was recently commissioned to put together the electronics for a slick 10 meter long LED installation at the Hsinchu Biomedical Science Park Exhibition Center in Taiwan. While you might assume that he was asked to construct a large LED matrix, this project is a little bit different from what you probably expected.

The display is actually a long light tunnel made up of 30 moving triangles suspended from the ceiling. The triangle movement is governed by 60 separate stepper motors, while the lighting is provided by 30 HL1606 RGB LED strips he picked up from Adafruit. The display’s logic is handled completely by an XMOS controller, which is beefy enough to handle controlling all of the stepper motors and the LEDs simultaneously.

After he hand assembled all of the motor driver boards and tested things in his workshop, the whole lot was shipped over to Taiwan for assembly by the on-site crew. After a bit of troubleshooting, they were able to get things working properly, and the display looks great as you can see from the image above.

[Marcus] says that he doesn’t have video of the display in action just yet, though he will update his post whenever he does.

[Thanks, Paul]

Adafruit celebrates Ada Lovelace day


If you weren’t aware, today is [Ada Lovelace] day, so [Ladyada] and Adafruit Industries are spending the day celebrating the achievements of women in the fields of technology, art, engineering, and electronics. Specifically, the focus is on fellow female makers/hackers who are helping shape and promote the industry.

Once every hour, Adafruit Industries is profiling one influential woman, paying tribute to her work and contributions to the tech/maker/art/science space. You’ll see a lot of familiar faces throughout the day, including electronics extraordinaire [Jeri Ellsworth], Make’s own [Becky Stern], as well as [Sherry Huss] and [Louise Glasgow], two of Maker Faire’s leading ladies.

The bios are certainly worth taking a look at – aside from some of the more familiar faces, it’s a great chance to learn about a few makers who you may not have heard of before.

As an added bonus, Adafruit is offering 10% off all purchases from the store using a coupon code that can be found on their site, so be sure to check it out!

Electronic cufflinks for the discerning hacker


[Phillip Torrone] gave us a heads up about a project he and [Limor Fried] along with [Mike Doell] have just wrapped up. Their aptly-named “iCufflinks” softly pulsate with light the same way in which you see many Mac products do.

The cufflinks are made from machined aluminum and have the ubiquitous “power symbol” milled into the face. Inside the cufflinks, you will find a small circuit board and a battery, which powers the device for up to 24 hours. The team reverse-engineered the soft LED pulse found in Mac products in order to deliver the exact same visualization in their cufflinks.

Ignoring for a minute, the name and the inspiration for the product, we think they are pretty darn cool. There’s nothing like a set of softly glowing cufflinks to spark conversation at any social gathering.

Like anything else you’ll find on Adafruit.com, the cufflinks are completely open source, so you can feel free to tweak and remix the design any way you’d like.

Continue reading to see a video of the cufflinks in action.

[Read more...]

Large remote-controlled Game of Life display


Sometimes it’s just plain fun to over-engineer. [Stephanie] gets a warm fuzzy feeling when she successfully adds way more electronics components to a project than she really needs – just because she can. We can’t really argue with her if that is the intended goal, nor can we find fault with the sweet Game of Life display she put together.

She started off with six Game of Life kits from Adafruit, but she quickly caught the LED bug and her collection grew until she had 20 kits (that’s 320 LEDs for those of you keeping count). After piecing them all together, they were mounted in a wooden frame and placed behind a dark piece of acrylic. It looked great and worked just fine, but it wasn’t overdone enough for her tastes.

In the end, she added a small Arduino and Xbee module to the Game of Life display, which enables it to be controlled by her network-enabled thermostat we featured a few weeks back. The thermostat was fitted with an Xbee unit as well, which allows it to turn the Game of Life on and off at whatever times [Stephanie] specifies.

We’ll take two please.

[via Adafruit Blog]

Zork on the Microtouch

[Rossum] just finished porting Zork over to the Microtouch. This hardware, which he originally designed, is now available for purchase through Adafruit. It’s a tiny 320×240 TFT touchscreen, driven by an AVR ATmega32u4 microcontroller. The device draws power from a lithium battery, and also boast a USB connection and a MicroSD slot.

The hack here is getting Zork to run with the limited resources available on the device. [Rossum] needed to emulate the Z80 processor, but didn’t want to use extra hardware in the way that [Sprite_TM] did when he emulated a Z80 using an AVR. Instead, this is based on a stripped-down implementation of Frotz. The final code is too big to fit on the chip along side of the bootloader. This means you’ll need to use an ISP programmer in order to flash this example to the chip. We’re pretty sure that AVRdude can program the ATmega32u4, so pretty much any ISP (including an Arduino) can be used to do the programming.