Blinkenwall controlled by a C64

Looking for a dual monitor setup for your Commodore 64? Look no further than the C64 controlled Blinkenwall put together over at Metalab.

The Blinkenwall is 45 glass blocks serving as a partition between the main room and the library over at Metalab in Vienna. Previously, the Blinkenwall was illuminated by 45 ShiftBrite RGB LED boards controlled by an Arduino connected to a Fonera router over a serial port. The Metalab guys have an awesome web interface that allows them (and you) to compose 45-pixel animations and play them on the Blinkenwall.

The new hardware update includes a Commodore 64, a Final Cartridge III, and the ever popular Commodore tape drive. now, instead of sending animation patterns over the Internet to an Arduino, the folks at Metalab can write their animations as 6510 assembly and save it on a cassette.

Yes, this may be a bit of an anachronism, but think of the possibilities: Prince of Persia on a 9×5 display, or just a light show to go along with some SID tunes. You can check out the video after the break.

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Ambilight clone built from Arduino and ShiftBrite modules

[Don] put together a guide that will help you build your own Ambilight Clone for about $40 plus the cost of an Arduino. He’s using it with the HTPC seen above, and utilized modular concepts in building it so that you can easily disconnect your Arduino board when you want to use it for prototyping.

For RGB light sources [Don] grabbed six ShiftBrite modules. These are fully addressable cascading modules which make for very easy hardware setup. Instead of buying a driver shield he built his own using an LM317, heat sink, and wall wart to source enough current to drive all of the modules.

We really enjoy the mounting scheme used. Each module is attached to a piece of acrylic which is then mounted using the standard threaded VESA mounting holes on the back of the monitor. As with other Ambilight clones this one uses the Boblight package to get color information from the video as it plays.

Hacking cakes with LEDs, the sequel!

A few weeks back we ran a piece about the convergence of making and baking in an attempt to create a cake festooned with working LEDs. The moral was that not every creative idea ends in victory, but we applauded the spirit it takes to post one’s goofs for the whole internet to see and to learn from.

[Craig]’s LED matrix proved unreliable…and the underlying cake didn’t fare much better, resembling that charred lump in the toaster oven in Time Bandits. The cakes-with-lights meme might have died right there if not for a fluke of association…

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It’s like… I can tell the time just by the color, man

[Alex] has reduced the resolution of his timepiece as a trade-off for speedy-readability. At least that’s what he claims when describing his color-changing clock. It uses a ShiftBrite to slowly alter the hue of the clock based on the current time. The concept is interesting: 12:00 starts off at white and slowly fades to green at 3:00, blue at 6:00, red at 9:00, and back to white by 12:00 to start the process over again. He has gotten to the point where he can get the time within about 15 minutes just with a quick look. But he did need to spend a few days acquiring the skill by having the color clock sit next to a traditional digital clock.

The build is pretty simple and we’d bet you already have what you need to make your own. [Alex] is really just proving a concept by using the ShiftBrite and an mBed, there’s no precision RTC involved here. So grab your microcontroller of choice, and an RGB LED of your own and see if you can’t recreate his build.

Of course you could always choose to build a color-based timepiece that’s even harder to read.

Google ADK project shows just how easy it is to use

first_adk_project

[yergacheffe] was able to get his hands on a shiny new Google ADK board about a week before it was announced at I/O, and got busy putting together a neat project to show off some of the ADK’s features. His idea was to meld together the ADK and Google’s new music service, two items he says complement each other very well.

He had a handful of LED matrices left over from last year’s Maker Faire, which he decided to use as a Google music metadata display. The base of the display is made from laser-cut acrylic, with a few spare ShiftBrites lighting up the Google music beta logo.

He says it took literally just a couple lines of code to get his Android handset to talk with the display – a testament to just how easy it is to use the ADK.

Pretty much anyone can walk up, attach their phone, and see their current music track on the display with zero fuss, which you can see in the video demo below.

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The start to finish of an interactive exhibit

[Andrew & Deborah O'Malley] were tapped to created an interactive exhibit. The mission was to show that social problems take continual support from a lot of people before they can be solved. The piece needed to be architectural in nature, and they ended up building this touch-sensitive model building with individually lighted windows.

The project log that the [O'Malleys] posted shows a well executed battle plan. They used tools we’re all familiar with to achieve a highly polished and pleasing result. The planning stages involved a virtual mock-up using Google SketchUp. The details needed to order the shell from a fabricator were pulled from this early work, while the team set their sights on the electronics that shed light and that make the piece interactive. The former is provided by a Shiftbrite module for each window, the latter comes from the Capacitive Sensing Library for Arduino. Despite some difficulty in tuning the capacitive grid, and getting all of those Shiftbrites to talk to each other, the exhibit went swimmingly. It’s not hard to imagine how easy it is to start a conversation once attendees are attracted by the seductive powers of touch sensitive blinky lights.

Hackaday links: April 28, 2010

Cell phone chopper control

Control your tiny inexpensive helicopter with a Nokia N900. The chopper uses an infrared remote control, just like a television. Getting this to work was just a matter of figuring out the IR commands and writing an app for the phone to spit them out.

Fade to black; inconspicuously

Lost interest in your TV-B-Gone? Give it one last whirl by throwing it inside of an old iPod case. The dock connector hole is just about the right size for the LEDs and the kit fits nicely in the old 3G type iPods. With this kind of disguise it should be a lot harder to spot who’s messing with those TVs.

Surf your way to a cleaner house

This guy uses a roomba to clean his floors. The Wii balance board lets him lean forward and back to surf the little bot around the room. This seems a little more exciting than the exercise programs the board was originally designed for. [Thanks DXR]

G1 gamepad

[Tobias Weber] built a gamepad for the G1 Android phone. He used an old Atari control, cut out two buttons and the d-pad, and glued them in a housing to fit the G1 keyboard. Each presses a button on the phone’s keyboard which can be mapped through the emulator software.

Social power monitoring

Here you see a very small portion of the power meter installed in a Cafe at UC Berkeley. It shows the energy usage for the building, separated into categories such as lights, power outlets, and coffee machines. This lets students know how much juice they’re draining by plugging in their gadgets. The color bar uses 93 ShiftBrite modules controlled by an Arduino.

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