Macetech’s LED glasses prototype

While there was no mention of it on their blog, [Garret] from mace tech was spied wearing some pretty cool looking LED glasses at MakerFaire last weekend. This morning, we noticed a Lytro gallery of the glasses and they look pretty cool (as a toy, not a fashion accessory). For those who haven’t played with Lytro, you can click around and refocus the image. Neat right? Back to the glasses.

Someone who we’re guessing is [Garret] spoke up on Reddit this morning explaining some tech specs and dropping a video of them in action.

The shades are a 20×6 matrix (with some pixel missing of course) driven by SPI from an integrated Arduino-compatible in the right temple. There is a Lithium-Polymer battery on the left temple. You can charge the glasses through USB, and download new code to it over the same connection. A button on the right temple allows switching between modes or auto cycling animated patterns.

Macetech takes on its own Ambilight clone hack

[Garrett Mace] decided to beef up his 58 inches of plasma with 60 Watts of LED lighting. After seeing a ton of Ambilight clones using his LED modules, he’s built his own powerful system. Not surprisingly, it’s nothing short of professional-grade work.

Kudos to [Garrett] for showing the entire process in the video after the break. We’re talking about his planning stages, which are so often left out of build logs. He first measures the back of the television, and does some testing for distance and angle of the Satellite LED modules to establish how many should be used and to estimate the optimal spacing. From there he modelled a framing system before getting down to the actual build.

The wood frame is made up of a box with a horizontal crossbar serving as a place to mount the drivers. Around the edges, tilting rails were added to make the angle of the LED modules adjustable. As with many other Ambilight clones, [Garrett] uses the boblight software to drive his system and we appreciate it that he included his configuration file for reference. Once up and running the effect is breathtaking (and possibly blinding).

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Centipede shield design contest

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Our friend [Garrett Mace] from macetech has finished a prototype of a new shield which allows the Arduino (or any other microcontroller with I2C) to add 64 digital I/O pins using only 2 of the analog pins. Currently he only has a few pre-production boards, and rather than selling them he is throwing a contest to win them. The contest is looking for people who have a specific project in mind that could use the centipede, and on Friday November 13th he will pick his favorite two. To submit an idea, just head over the Arduino forums and post an idea complete with details and relevant schematics, etc.

We will be sure to follow up with the winners of the contest, as well as let you all know when the Centipede Shield makes it into production.

Parts: ChronoDot RTC Module (DS3231)

ChronoDot

Macetech’s ChronoDot is a Real Time Clock module for projects requiring highly accurate time keeping and measurement. The ChronoDot uses the DS3231 chip, which features a TCXO to compensate for variations in temperature which affect normal oscillators, like the ones in most microcontrollers. The DS3231 uses simple I2C commands and registers for storing and retrieving time, but also features a variable output that goes all the way down to 1.000 hz for low power, interrupt style timekeeping applications. With the provided watch battery, the ChronoDot can keep time in idle mode for up to 8 years.

Normally the ChronoDot comes mostly assembled, requiring you to only solder on the watch battery. However, due to a manufacturing mistake, Macetech is selling a version with the header pins on the wrong side they call the ChronoDoh. This module is currently nearly half off the regular price of $14.99, which makes it a great low cost addition to a project. Macetech has sent us a couple of these modules to demonstrate how functional they still are.

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The future of annoyance

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[Garrett] posted about ThinkGeek updating the Phantom Keystroker to support random capslocking. You may remember that [Garrett] built the Stealth USB CapsLocker for April Fool’s day. The tiny device would randomly turn on the victim’s Caps Lock. This update to the commercial product has inspired him to refresh his own design. He suggests few possible options: random inserts, erratic volume control, or random sleeps. He’s also planning on making it more accessible to hacking. What would you add?

A ShiftBrite Christmas

[Garrett] took 30 of his ShiftBrite modules and mounted them to his front fence for Christmas. The ShiftBrite is a serially addressable high output RGB LED. The individual modules are quite adept at applications like this where you’re stringing multiple lights together. They have identical buses on either side, specifically for daisychaining. The installation above looks great.

Arduino shield scaffold

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[Garrett] from macetech has been prototyping shields for the Arduino development platform. Arduino’s have an inexplicable nonstandard spacing between two of the banks of output pins. This means that you can’t use regular perfboard with them. To make the design process quicker, [Garrett] has put together an Eagle file that just includes the male header pins. The file also has a line indicating the tall lower board components so you can avoid creating shorts.