Graduation Cap Shows Us What It’s Got!

A high school graduation ceremony is well due the pomp and circumstance for making it through one of life’s many milestones. To commemorate the event with their own flair, redditor [PM_(cough)_FOR_KITTENS] hid a 32 x 32 GIF-playing LED matrix in their graduation cap!

The board is controlled by a Teensy hosting a SmartMatrix shield. With the shield’s assistance, the matrix enables scrolling text and GIFs to play across the LEDs, as well as an SD card slot to load up your favourites. Currently, it’s set to a 50-50 chance of playing a gif — one of sixty — or one of the twenty scrolling text lines loaded onto the SD card. [PM_(ahem)_FOR_KITTENS] co-opted his friend’s expertise to write the code — available here — while he designed the circuit and handled the assembly.

Carefully unwrapping his cap, [PM_(yep)_FOR_KITTENS] reinforced it with thinner and stronger cardboard, cutting slots into it, allowing the boards and wires to — barely — fit inside. A hole in the side of the cap is enough for a barely noticeable USB cable to run down his neck to a 2000 mAh battery which can power the cap for over five hours at 5V and 2A. Check out a demo video after the break!

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Getting your message across at commencement

[Yomagaocho] is graduation from Northwestern University on June 18th (wow that’s late in the year… they must be on quarters). He decided to spice up his mortarboard for the commencement ceremony. A normal message wasn’t good enough, and even a solar-powered diorama wasn’t going to suit him. Instead he added 256 addressable LEDs to the top so that he can get his message across without being limited to a couple of words. See it demonstrated after the break.

He was nice enough to give us the technical details. The matrix is a 16×16 grid mounted in some laser-cut black acrylic. We immediately wondered about the display working in sunlight (a June graduation will probably be outside). He didn’t use any current limiting resistors with the LEDs, dangerous to the longevity but this should provide maximum brightness. It’s certainly a geeky concept, but having the ribbon cable that controls it trailing down into your robe might make those graduation photos a bit¬†embarrassing¬†a few years down the road. Continue reading “Getting your message across at commencement”