CheerLights: Synchronizing Christmas lights around the globe

cheerlights-synchronized-christmas-lights

They say that the holidays are a time to gather with others, which usually translates into spending time with friends and family. The folks at ioBridge Labs thought that while friends and family certainly are a big part of the holidays, it would be pretty cool to gather together flocks of strangers by using the Internet to synchronize their Christmas lights.

Participation in CheerLights is pretty easy, requiring little more than an Internet connection, some GE G-35 Color Effects lights, an Arduino, and an ioBridge. While those are the recommended components, an Arduino Ethernet shield will handle networking just as well. There really are no restrictions when it comes to hardware, so if you are so inclined, it should be relatively easy to roll your own display using simple RGB LEDs and a µC of your choosing.

The colors are dictated by the group’s Twitter feed, which can be found at http://twitter.com/#!/@cheerlights. Whenever a message is sent to @cheerlights along with a color, all of the light displays listening in will change simultaneously.

We really like the idea, and think it would be pretty cool to see this sort of program rolled out on a neighborhood or street-wide level, so you could see dozens of strings changing colors all at once.

If you’re interested in checking out CheerLights’ current color, be sure to take a gander at their live stream here.

[via BuildLounge]

Microcontrollers access the web

[Kenneth Finnegan] is back with another video showing some cool stuff he’s doing to connect his microcontrollers to the internet. Usually, we see this done with a prebuilt module like an iobridge. [Kenneth] is using a Microchip ENC28j60 module for the communication and he’s managed to stuff it all onto a tiny Electroboards piece.  [Kenneth] is starting to become a regular around here.

[via HackedGadgets]

RFID controlled phone dialing

phone1

In an attempt to create an easier to use interface for the elderly, [Stephen] has put together this phone prototype which uses RFID tags to dial. It is common for our motor skills and eyesight to deteriorate as we get older. There are special phones out there, but generally the only changes they make are enlarged buttons and louder speakers. [Stephen] had the idea to make a system where an elderly person would hold up a picture of the person to the phone and it would dial. He picked up an RFID card reader and an Arduino. The code for the RFID reader was already available, and with minor modifications to prevent multiple swipes from hand tremors or slow movements, he was able to get it working pretty fast. The Arduino then sends the data to an ioBridge to make the call.He’s using Google voice to physically place the call, so you could probably adapt this to other services as well. You can see a video of it in action after the break.

[Read more...]

Laser pup

laser_pup

[Joe] sent us this project called Laser Pup.  After seeing many other projects with the ioBridge like beer pouring and dog treat dispensing, he wanted to make his own. His project allows him to play with his dog via a ceiling mounted laser pointer. We know, you were hoping for something more along the lines of Laser Cats, but this is still pretty cool. He built a web interface specifically for the iPhone to control the laser, room lights, and show a live feed of the puppy playing. You can see a video of it in action after the break.

[Read more...]

Automated shooting range

targets

[Steve] was discussing airsoft with a friend when he came up with this idea. His friend was lamenting the lack of “action” style targets for their airsoft hobby. [Steve] took this as an opportunity to make his own automated target system. The targets themselves are made from Construx, a paper target and a piece of cloth to stop the airsoft pellets. Controlled by an Arduino and an ioBridge module, it has a web interface so he can switch programs from up range. You can see a video example of him shooting some targets after the break. Next,he should make it twitter where each target was hit.

[Read more...]

Wiimote controlled coil gun

iocoil1

[thecapacity] sent us his iobridge project where he controls a coil gun with a Wiimote. To make the coil gun, he took apart an office golf putter that had a ball return.  The mechanism to return the ball is a metal cylinder that is moved magnetically. He simply replaced the cylinder with a smaller diameter piece of metal to create the gun.   His computer monitors the Wiimote axis changes and sends them to the ioBridge. The unit could be located anywhere, but without a camera on it, he’ll have a hard time aiming. There’s a video of it working after the break.

[Read more...]

Pouring a beer via iPhone

[Steve] sent us his new years project, a remote beer server controlled by his iPhone. He has built a frame from construx and used ioBridge to connect it to his iPhone. He states that he “wanted to make a project that allows for the perfect pour and take out all of that physical work”. Seems like it could use a little adjustment to be a bit less foamy. Maybe an additional frame to adjust the angle of the glass as it is poured.

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