Largest LED cube we’ve ever seen is still only half complete

[Brendan Vercoelen] is a university student in New Zealand studying engineering. He says his recent gigantic LED cube build, “isn’t very serious” compared to other student projects, but that doesn’t mean it’s not impressive. The original plan for the build was a 16x16x16 tri-color LED cube. After realizing how much soldering that really was, [Brendan] scaled back his design a little to a 16x16x8 cubeoid, but the other half can be attached when the project is complete.

From the cost breakdown, [Brendan] only spent about $550 USD – far less expensive than we expected. The most expensive item was the 4,000+ Red-Green-Orange tri-color LEDs. The largest LED cubes (1, 2, 3) we’ve covered have maxed out at 8x8x8, or 512 total LEDS. Even though [Brendan]’s build is only half done, it’s still four times larger in volume than the largest LED cube we’ve seen.

The gauntlet has been thrown down. This is the one to beat, folks. Check out a video of the cube after the break.

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512 LED cube (again)

We’ve seen LED cubes before, but [nick] upped the ante with his 8x8x8 LED cube that uses only three pins on his microcontroller.

Previous LED cubes we’ve covered drove the LEDs with shift registers and latches, but [nick] used STP16CP LED sink drivers to reduce the component count. The STP16CP can control 16 LEDs each, can be cascaded off of each other, and can operate up to 30Mhz. With a component like this, you’re limited by your microcontroller and not your patience or soldering skills.

While he was waiting for his LEDs to arrive in the mail, [nick] decided he would get a head start on the animation code by plunging into MATLAB. After getting an idea of what would look good on the cube, [nick] wrote the code on his PC to send commands to the arduino controlling the sink drivers. To wrap up the project, [nick] put the cube on a very attractive wooden box stuffed with the electronics. All tolled, a very efficient and elegant build.

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512 LED cube

Get out the soldering iron and clear your schedule, it’s going to take you a while to assemble this 8x8x8 LED matrix which contains a total of 512 LEDs. We’ve looked in on a 3x3x3 cube, and [Chr], who is responsible for this one, has assembled a 4x4x4 cube before, but this one is quite a leap in complexity. It isn’t just physical assembly problems that increase with scale, you’ll need to consider a power supply too since one layer of a 3x3x3 cube would need at 90 mA, but a single layer of the cube above requires 640 mA to light all of the diodes. Multiplexing is handled per-layer, controlled by  ICs which share 8 data lines and are latched by a shift register. This means the display only requires 11 microcontroller pins for addressing. It is striking how well [Chr] explains the design process, and how cleanly he builds the driver circuits on protoboard. There’s a lot to look at and a lot to learn, not to mention the stunning results which can be seen in the video after the break.

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FPS controller hacks getting easier

It used to be a major production to build a gun-form-factor FPS controller but commercial tech has adopted many of those traditional hacks over the years. Now, [Nirav Patel] is playing Cube with a Wii zapper and a SpacePoint. All that was really required to make this happen is a patch to Cube, the open source FPS.

[Nirav] has plans to make this controller wireless using a BeagleBoard. We’re wondering if there’s support for using the Wii motion plus? We’ve seen motion plus Arduino connectivity, as well as direct PC connectivity. The Wii remote already connects to Linux, what about pulling that data down from the Bluetooth connection? If you’ve done this, send us a tip about it.

Mindstorm Rubik’s solver

It has been quite a while since we looked in on the world of automated Rubik’s cube solving. [David Gilday] built this one using LEGO Mindstorm parts. It uses a computer to calculate the solutions but unlike the standalone Tilted Twister, this creation can solve more than one type of cube. As long as the physical dimensions are between 5 and 6 centimeters on a side, the machine can solve 2, 3, 4, and 5 piece cubes. [David] wasn’t quite satisfied with that though. He built a separate machine to take care of the 6x6x6 cubes too. See both in action after the break.

Want to see more? Don’t miss the CuBear solver developed at Berkeley or the AVR based solver.

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CuBear, Berkeley’s Rubik’s Cube solver

A team of five UC Berkeley engineering built this impressive Rubik’s Cube solver. The CuBear is a giant transparent cube with a servo attached to each face to rotate the cube’s six faces. The user can either scramble the cube using computer controls or show the faces of a scrambled cube to the onboard webcam, and the machine will replicate it. While scrambling the cube may take many moves, the computer calculates the shortest number of moves to solve the cube before proceeding. Team member [Dan Dzoan] is quite a fast solver himself, as you can see at the end of BotJunkie’s video embedded below. Continue reading “CuBear, Berkeley’s Rubik’s Cube solver”

Tiny cubic PC

We’ve been watching the progress of the Space Cube since 2004, but PC Pro managed to get their hands on it first. Developed by the Shimafuji Corporation, it comes with 16 megabytes of flash memory and a version of Red Hat is run off a 1 gigabyte CompactFlash card. The design of the Space Cube is pretty minimal, but it’s got the basics down, from a USB port to a VGA output and a D-SUB RS232 input, and even an Ethernet port. The most interesting thing about it is the Space Wire port, which is a proprietary interface use by NASA, the ESA, and JAXA for outer space. Unfortunately for working hackers, this ingenious micro-computer will set you back about £1,500.

[via NOTCOT]