LED Blinds Turn Windows into Displays

led blinds

[Dinofizz] is almost done with his vertical LED blinds. The build makes use of 768 diffused white LEDs (10mm size), at a resolution of 48×16, and it only requires one 16-channel LED driver (a MBI5026), which makes use of 3x 4-to-16 demultiplexers. Did we mention it has 16 shades of grayscale too?

At the heart of the many piles of painstakingly soldered wires is an ATmega644A microcontroller which takes care of interpreting the data for the display. He didn’t write the firmware himself though, that credit goes to [Jay Clegg] who does some pretty cool work with Evil Mad Science’s Peggy 2.0 LED driver.

What we really have to admire is the amount of effort he put into this project. He used custom PCBs to daisy chain the blinds together, 300 feet of 16-way ribbon cable, and approximately 4000 individual solder joints! You’d think there would have been an easier way!

Making use of his high rise windows, he now has the ability to broadcast messages for the world to see. After the break check out the video of them in action!

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Halloween props: Pumpkin in standby-mode

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories is preparing for Halloween with this standby-mode pumpkin. Inside there’s an LED plugging a hole that is drilled just to the skin of the gourd-like vegetable. It fades in and out similar to a sleeping Mac, using what we think is a vastly over-powered circuit based on an ATtiny2313 (1k  of programming space for this?). But we still like the idea and we’d enjoy seeing it scaled up to a full LED matrix.

We’ve come to expect pumpkin hacks from EMSL and they don’t disappoint. Last year was a mechanized version, and the year before an LED schematic symbol. So what about your creation? With about one week left, take a look around and see if you can’t create something as wonderful as the Pie of Sauron.

Prototyping the Bulbdial clock

Evil Mad Scientist posted a story about what went into developing the Bulbdial clock. We think the Bulbdial is one of the best pieces of kit out there for many reasons; using colored shadows for each hand is a brilliant idea, the design is clever and uses a low parts count, and the concentric rings that make it work also add to the aesthetic. But after seeing the original wood prototype it had crossed our minds that developing those circular PCBs isn’t the easiest thing to pull off. To save on board cost, the first run didn’t have the center routed out, but rather used almost-touching holes drilled during manufacture and finished by hand during assembly. They also go on to discuss the use of Charlieplexing to reduce part count and the search for a suitable diffuser for the clock face.

Zif socket for Arduino


Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories has put out this nice tool. It’s a Zif socket for Arduino. If you’re doing a lot of flashing, this could be a nice addition to keep from having to pry your chip out every time. Plus, it looks cool in a soviet era technology kind of way.

Uses for magnets


Sometimes we forget just how useful magnets can be. Sure, we use them in some projects, but usually we just pull them apart for our amusement. Evil mad scientist laboratories reminds us that they can be useful tools. They’ve made a list of 17 uses of magnets. We’re also reminded that magnets can be dangerous. What else can you think of?