Twitter based Christmas ornaments update

When we introduced you to the Twitter Christmas tree ornaments, sadly we had very little information about the project. Luckily [Rob] made contact and clued us in on the inner workings. It even turns out we were wrong about the usage of Arduinos! We invite you to check out all the juicy inner workings after the break.
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(Yet another) Twitter this controlling Arduino that

Christmas may be over, but we still have a couple of cool holiday related hacks for you. One being [Alpay's] Twitter based interactive Christmas tree ornaments.

We tried to dig up some more information, but it thus far appears a laptop running Processing searches Twitter for specific Christmas related words (like 1337, that’s Christmas-y), sends a buffer to one of three Arduinos which in turn light up a specific ornament. You can check out a live stream here.

For those wanting a bit more information on Arduino and controlling holiday lights, check out [Alpay's] GE health care version of Twitter lights, or our previous post on controlling Christmas trees, or you might even try [Michael's] $10 Walmart light controller.

You’re not seeing double: RGB Christmas trees

[mrpackethead], created this monster of a tree.  As shown in the video, it’s capable of showing animations, patterns, and potentially video. The 6m tall creation is studded with 2000 waterproof RGB LED modules. Software for the tree was written in Apple’s own Quartz Composer and integrated into Madrix, a piece of software designed with the purpose of controlling LEDs. The 600W system is 100% Arduino-free and costs less than the equivalent of 0.04USD per hour to run in New Zealand.

[Geoist] opted for the Arduino way to rig up his own smaller RGB Christmas tree. Finding a slightly kitschy fiber-optic model in his local department store, [Geoist] was eager to harness its colour-changing powers. Upon opening it up, it was discovered that it was controlled by nothing more than a light bulb and a spinning disk of coloured light filters. [Geoist] gutted the setup in favour of a breadboard with 3 RGB lights hooked up to an Arduino. The sketch for it is available on his site.

Hackaday Links: Christmas 2009

It’s a Guitar Hero Christmas

Nope, we’re not adding Christmas songs to the game, but instead making the game part of the decor. [kumbaric] hung strings of lights on his garage door in the shape of this familiar gaming interface. The best thing is, you can actually play the game based on these lights. [Thanks Yuppicide]

Smallest… Snowman… Ever.

You can make one of these if you have an electron microscope and an ion beam on hand. This is the product of some clever folks at the National Physical Laboratory near London. This is a pretty fat snowman, 1/5 of a human hair across. By the way, you should have read the subtitle with the voice of Comic Book Guy (like we do when reading the tolls’ comments). [Thanks Matthias]

A little help please

[Andy] outdid himself with this creative decoration. Hanging a dummy from the gutter and placing a tipped over ladder beside it had some folks alarmed. The police asked him to remove the prop after they almost ran off the road while driving by. This was real enough that somebody actually came to the rescue, climbing to the top of the ladder before discovering the ruse. [Thanks Rob]

Lights that blow your mind

This video is from a 2007 display and features over 45,000 lights running on 176 channels. Individually controlled colors, fading effects, and music synchronization put on a show that will get you kicked out of your gated community. Admittedly this guy runs a business dealing in Christmas lighting displays, but that doesn’t diminish the sheer awesome of what he’s done. [Thanks Patrick]

Have a safe and happy Christmas. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that you get that new Weller you’ve been hoping for.

Choreographed Christmas light show (x4)

[Lucas] is at it again this year. Not satisfied by the computerized systems available on the market, [Lucas] decided to build on last year’s project. To save a bit of cash, he built the setup around Parallax’s low-cost SX28 proto board. The system is capable of controlling 102 channels, with 8-bit dimming. 6 boards control 7 channels each and are communicated to through a serial protocol (reducing the whole setup to only 36 feet of wiring).

More importantly, he’s teamed up with 3 other neighbors who also share a passion for outdoor Christmas lighting and they’ve put together the Christmas Tour of Lights. Money raised from all donations goes directly to the St. Jude Children’s Reasearch Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

BobLight night light networking

It turns out that more than just pictures of women and flashing animations can be found on the X10 website. [Jonathan] based his BobLight project around the MS14A X10 module.

The idea for the devices started off as a Christmas gift for his parents in-law. A boblight turns on when motion is detected. It then communicates (through radio) with the other boblights to turn them all on. If motion is not detected by any of the boblights for a length of time, they all turn off. Rather than having the user shut all of them off every morning, a light sensor is used to automate the task.

Each boblight is a common LED utility light combined with the board of an MS14A and added a 310MHz RF receiver. He even hacked the board by replacing the onboard PIC with a higher spec model. We think [Jonathan] did a great job at implementing an innovative concept.

Advent wreath from parts you have on hand

Here’s an advent wreath made from six parts and a paper clip. Powered by a CR2032 3v button cell, the circuit has been free-formed using a paper clip as the conductor. We love the “dead bug” style of construction used with the ATtiny13 microcontroller because it adds an extra level of intrigue for the uninitiated. This project build on the flickering circuit we saw last year and uses the LEDs as light sensors, only turning on when a certain darkness level has been reached.

We used a tiny13 with our Menorah project last year and still have some lying around that we can use for this. We’re sure you’ve got at least a couple of low-pin-count micros on hand. If you don’t, you should!