Temp-Sensitive Automatic Blinds


Any opportunity to shave a few bucks off your power bill is probably worth considering, especially if it’s a device like [Steve Hoefer's] Mini Blind Minder. This little guy staves off (or welcomes) the sun by monitoring the room with a temperature sensor and checking against a setpoint. If the room is too warm or too cool, the top-mounted servo will spin the wand and close or open the blinds, respectively.

[Steve] started by building a homemade Arduino shield from some perfboard to which he added a handful of discrete components: some current-limiting resistors for the RGB LED indicator light and a 10k trim pot for fine-tuning the temp sensor. Although this build forgoes an LCD readout to display precise information, it does provide feedback by stepping the RGB LED’s color through a spectrum of blue to red to indicate how the current room temperature compares to your setpoint. The two momentary pushbuttons beneath the light allow the user to adjust the setpoint up or down.

See the video below for a detailed guide to building your own, and take a look at a similar automatic blinds build from earlier this year that opens and closes in response to ambient light.

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LED Costumes and Clothing


Our tips line recently received an influx of wearable LED projects, both for casual and professional wear. [Elizabeth] and [Luis] have created the Lüme wearable collection, aimed at accessorizing by adding adjustable accent colors to jackets, t-shirts and dresses. The electronics are custom-made, built around an ATMega32u4, and each is Bluetooth enabled to interact with a user’s cell phone. From the phone, you can change colors, sequences, set up events, and even take advantage of an “inkdropper-style” feature that matches the color of the LEDs to any object you point your camera at.

[Michal's] project is an entire suit for a dance and laser show entitled “Tron Dance”, which uses several RGB LED strips placed on key points of the wearer’s costume. It looks like [Michal] has intentionally avoided the joint areas to prevent any problems with breaks or bends, but still manages to place enough to cover the entire body. We aren’t sure what controls everything, but you can watch it go through various sequences and survive an onstage performance after the break.

Finally, in yet another kind of performance, magician [Kiki Tay] has built a jacket that’s overflowing with RGB LEDs. [Kiki] wanted wearable LED control that could be used in various situations without having to re-invent the wheel each time, so he developed his own board — the LED Magician: an Arduino-compatible solution. The board has 12 outputs channels, drives 50+ LEDs per channel and features 12 on-board LEDs that display a preview of the output. To make interactions user-friendly, [Kiki] has provided 32 built-in sequences and adjustable speeds that the user can program via 4 buttons on the board. If that isn’t enough control, there are some options for external control as well. The jacket itself runs off a hobby LiPo battery and is blindingly bright: stick around after the break for a video.

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FlowFree goes life sized at Maker Faire NY

Maker Faire 2013SetupWillow Glen MakersTeam PathfinderFlow*26

What began as a smartphone game turned into a Maker Faire New York 2013 project for the [Willow Glen Makers]. FlowX26 is a life sized version of the game FlowFree. [The Willow Glen Makers] wanted to build an extendable, easy to set up grid of floor tiles to emulate the game. A CNC machine was employed to create a plywood framework. Not visible in the picture is the fact that each cross member is cut slightly concave.  This concavity allows the clear plastic top to deflect just enough to activate a micro switch inside the tile. The switch sends a signal to the tile’s Arduino Mega controller. The Mega then uses this data to control an array of RGB LEDs.

The next problem was interconnection and communication between the tiles. [The Makers] used copper tape, along with a 3D Printed latch system between each tile side. Six connections per side allow power and data to be transmitted throughout the grid.

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FLASH.IT: The RGB LED climbing wall


[Chris] and his friends were kicking around ideas for a Burning Man project, and this is the one that stuck: a rock climbing wall with RGB LEDs embedded in the holds. The holds themselves were custom made; the group started by making silicone molds of varying shapes and sizes, then added the electronics and poured in polyurethane resin to create the casting. The boards for these LEDs are equipped with a central hole that pairs up with a peg in the silicone mold. [Chris] also solved an annoying spinning problem by affixing a bolt to the far end of the LED board: once embedded in the polyurethane, the bolt provides resistance that the thin board cannot. The finished holds bolt onto the wall with all their wires neatly sticking out of the back to be hooked up to a central controller.

The Instrucables page suggests a few ways to get the lights working, including grabbing the nearest Arduino and relying on the Neopixel Library from Adafruit. [Chris] went the extra mile for Burning Man, however, designing Arduino-software-compatible controller boards capable of communicating via DMX, which expanded the system from a simple display to one capable of more complex lighting control. Stop by the Github for schematics and PCB layouts, and stick around for a video of the wall after the break. If the thrill-seeking outdoorsman inside you yearns for more, check out WALL-O-TRON from earlier this summer.

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Octoscroller takes the Hexascroller to the next level


The folks at NYCResistor have a new toy in the Octoscroller. For a couple of years now the NYCResistor crew has used the HexaScroller as a clock and general alert system. Now that RGB LED panels are cheaply available, the group decided to upgrade both the number of sides and the number of colors.

Octoscroller uses eight 16×32 RGB LED panels. These panels are relatively easy to interface to, but require constant refresh even to display a static image. This makes them both memory and CPU intensive for smaller microcontrollers. Brightness control via PWM only increases the difficulty.

On the plus side, the panels are structurally strong. This allows the Octoscroller to avoid the plywood ring which made up the frame of the Hexascroller. 3D printed brackets and hardware were all that was needed to complete the Octoscroller frame.

The brain of the this beast is a BeagleBone Black running LEDscape along with some custom software. Imagery comes from the Disorient Pyramid.

If you’re in the New York area, NYCResistor plans to offer classes on building your own Octoscroller.  You can also see the Octoscroller in person at MakerFaire NYC this weekend.

Four Meter Light Paintings


We’ve seen some light painting before – waving a microcontroller and LED strip in front of a camera is a very interesting project after all. [Saulius]‘ light painting stick is unlike anything we’ve seen before, though. It’s huge – four meters high, and is also very flexible in the field, drawing images served up from a smart phone.

To get his pictures onto his light painting stick, [Saulius] used the very cool Carambola, an exceedingly small board that also runs Python. The images were converted to a 128xWhatever .BMP file served to the Carambola over WiFi with a smart phone, Since the Carambola runs Linux, sometimes a kernel interrupt would mistakenly restart the drawing process. [Saulius] found a way around that by writing the drawing code in C and wrapping that in a Python module. The speed of C and the flexibility of Python, who could ask for more.

On the project page, you can see [Saulius] pulling off some very cool light paintings. Even though the Hackaday logo is the best way to get on the front page here, this pic is probably the most impressive


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