MB LED is next generation of LED video block puzzles

Meet MBLed, a set of interactive 8×8 LED tiles. Put them next to each other and they will orient themselves into a video screen which is the sum of the parts. If this sounds familiar it’s because we’ve seen the concept before in the GLiP project. [Guillaume] tells us that MB Led is the new version of GLiP and from what we’ve seen they’ve made a lot of progress.

The hardware is well designed. A PCB hosts the STM32 microcontroller and a pair of pin headers which receive the RGB LED matrix module. A pair of AA battery holders make up the legs for the device. Each has infrared receiver/emitter pairs on each of the four edges and constantly polls for its neighbors.

What really impresses us is the algorithms they’re using for communications. FreeRTOS runs on the ARM processors, and a series of messages was developed which allow the blocks to elect a leader, and follow its commands via the distributed system. Check out more about those algorithms on the page linked above, and join us after the break to see the demo video.

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Mystery Box out of Lego

[Todd] recently completed completed his biggest LEGO project, and its pretty wild. The Mystery Box is an 8 compartment LEGO brick puzzle box, covered in a psychedelic pattern of interconnecting question marks.

The question mark pattern was inspired by a few things, the book called “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” contained an illustration that looked sort of like a M.C. Escher painting, which with some looking around brought up tessellation. With the look in mind [Todd] sat down with a paint program, drew out a grid, and started flood filling blocks until the pattern was perfect.

In puzzle box tradition, to gain access to the contents you must remove each compartment in the specific mystery order, and to accomplish this was no easy task. Lego Digital Designer was used to prototype everything on the box and then once happy, [Todd] broke the model down for a parts count.

Nearly 8,000 parts, 35 brick orders, and some long waits, the box was finally completed and its definetly worth a look. If you’re not that extreme, they also make cool electronics enclosures.

Reverse geocache features UI and is reprogrammable

Here is yet another offering in the Reverse Geocache puzzle arena. We’ve been getting a lot of tips about these projects but this one in particular stuck out from the others. [Mure] packed in a bunch of features, starting with the LCD screen seen above. You can just make out the single red button near the bottom of the image which is used to traverse the menu. The octagonal box has an octagonal PCB inside that includes a USB connector. As you can see in the video after the break, this can be used for charging the batteries, and communicating with the internals. An accompanying program is used to generate puzzle data, which can then be programmed via that USB connection to set a new puzzle location. This functionality certainly protects against accidental lock-outs which were a problem with the last puzzle we looked in on.

Great interactive LED puzzle

The GLIP project takes the delight of blinking LEDs and combines it with the ingenuity of modular communications. This takes the Puzzlemation concept a few steps further. In that project the modules were programmed through a base station and could be removed and used as a puzzle from there. The GLIP project uses a master block that you can see tethered in the photo. But the blocks communicate with each other via an infrared protocol. This way they can be continuously updated as they are place next to each other. Each module includes an STM32F105 ARM Cortex-M3 processor, quite a punch for the little blocks. Take a look at what they can do after the break.

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Reverse GeoCache puzzle gets downsized

[Markus] built his own reverse geocache puzzle box but on a smaller scale than the original. His is based around a PIC 18F2520 and powered by two AAA batteries. The user interface includes one button, a 16×2 character LCD, and a piezo speaker. The box unlocks itself when the GPS module inside detects the proper location on the globe. There is also a secret code that can be tapped on the button to unlock the box prematurely, and another to show the locations in which the user attempted to open the box. This build doesn’t leave much room for a payload, but [Markus] did a great job designing the board and making the components fit as efficiently as possible.

Hackaday links: February 14, 2010

$30,000?

Is it art or is it a puzzle? Well, it functions as a game but it’s certainly a work of art and priced accordingly. The Superplexus was featured in Make Mazine and Hammacher Schlemmer sells it for thirty grand (you can’t just click to add it to your cart though). Think of the work that went into developing this! [via The Awesomer]

Rollable Display Update

[SeBsZ] continues work on his rollable display matrix. He’s got twenty five controller boards now and has them working as a matrix. We originally covered this in January but now it’s much easier to see how this can be made portable by mounting it on fabric or canvas. Check out the demo video if your interested.

Security testing suite

BackTrack 4 final has been released. If you didn’t like it when it was rough around the edges, you should give it another try. This lean and mean Linux ditro is made for security testing and is approachable for noob and pro alike. [Thanks Steve]

Power on the go

[Csae] uses this portable power center to fire up some studio strobes outside. It consists of a case, an uninterruptible power supply, and a couple of extension cords all hacked together into one. At first you might think this is a bit ghetto but it’s portable and it does what is intended.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Giving this LED-heart adorned shirt as a gift is sure to make your Valentine head for the hills. This project’s a few year’s old, but gawdy T-shirts never go out of style, right?

Buzzle: a morse code puzzle box

[lucasfragomeni] built the Buzzle after being inspired by the reverse geocache puzzle. The Buzzle was built as a gift to a friend. It’s a tricky gift too. His friend can’t open it until he decodes the words being displayed in morse code via an LED. A word is chosen at random, so you would have to decode it each time you want to open the box. That’s a pretty neat security feature. Sure it’s not the most secure, but it would keep casual peepers out. Unfortunately, the box was empty when his friend received it.

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