Giant POV tube for light painting

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When you really want your feelings known, we always say that bigger is better. [Gavin Smith, aka The Mechatronics Guy] must come from the same school of thought, because there’s absolutely no mistaking what he is trying to say with his latest project.

Inspired by this WiFi signal painter we featured a while back, the LightScythe is a 2 meter long bar composed of multi-color LED strips that he bought from Adafruit. The light bar is controlled by a Seeduino micro controller, which takes direction from his laptop via a pair of XBee units. Once he generates an image from text with ImageMagic, a Python script is used to match the colors as close as possible to the RGB color space. The image is then converted to raw serial data for playback on the Scythe. When he is ready to go, he triggers his camera to take a 10-15 second exposure, during which he walks across the frame, painting his images with the LightScythe.

We always enjoy seeing creative derivations of previous projects we have covered, and the LightScythe does it well. He actually built a pair of these that can work in concert or independently, which we imagine can make for some pretty awesome pictures.

Be sure to check out his Flickr photostream for more examples of what the LightScythe can do.

Wireless hackerspace status notifier

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Hackerspaces are always looking for novel ways to let their members know that they are open for business, and this notifier [Angus] from Make, Hack, Void recently put together is no exception.

While dumpster diving one day, he came across a fantastic-looking lab power supply from the ‘70s. He gutted it, saving the variable transformer for a future project, and started constructing his notifier. When someone enters the hackerspace, they simply set the dial on the “Space Probe” to the amount of time they expect to be there. The built-in Seeduino sends the data over Bluetooth to an OpenWRT-enabled router, which uses a couple of Lua scripts to notify members via email and Twitter.

Since almost all of the processing is done on the router side, it leaves the Arduino in the probe with little more to do than flash an LED and send ASCII status messages any time the knob is turned. [Angus] is well aware that this would probably make most people’s heads spin, but he hopes that other hackerspace members use that untapped potential to further enhance the notifier.

Stick around to see the Space Probe in action, and if you are interested in seeing what other hackerspaces use to keep their members in the know, check out this status switch from Hack42.

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