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.

Shiftbrite coffee table

Here’s a project we’ve been wanting to do for a while. Over at macetech.com they’ve posted an LED coffee table that uses a 9×9 RGB LED grid. For the LEDs, they used the shiftbrite modules we’ve seen before. The table is capable of displaying pre written patterns as well as accepting patterns from a computer via bluetooth. They’ve set it up to connect to a twitter feed and display to a live cam on their site. Though we would love to reproduce this, we need a little more justification than “ooooh, shiny”  for the funds involved. Anyone want to donate 100 shiftbrights?

Shift powered pumpkins


[Garret] and a couple of friends totally stole our idea wanted to light up their pumpkins a bit differently this year. They used some ShiftBrites and all the corresponding shift hardware (who knew there was so much shift out there) to bring their carved orange minions to life. Yes, this could be done a lot less modulated by using a regular LED and perhaps a PIC. Maybe it’s not the most technically challenging, but hey its in the spirit of Halloween – one of our favorite holidays. Speaking of which, doesn’t that fence look familiar? Check out a video after the break. Seriously, Mutton Chops? Continue reading “Shift powered pumpkins”

4 LED RGB controller

4rgbled-angle-rainbow_thumb (Custom)

[Steven] was inspired by the BlinkM and Shiftbrite modules, but really wanted something that could be controlled via RS232. He decided to build his own RGB LED module capable of PWM that fit his needs. He’s using a PIC16F628 microcontroller as the base. Each module has 4 individually addressable LEDs with multiple intensities for each color. The units can be daisy chained as well. The schematics and PCB files are available on his site for download.

[via Hacked Gadgets]

Parts: ShiftBrite RGB LED module (A6281)


Macetech’s ShiftBrite is a high-power RGB LED coupled with an Allegro A6281 backpack. The A6281 uses three 10bit pulse-width modulators to mix millions of colors using the red, green, and blue elements in the RGB LED. Multiple modules can be chained together for bigger projects, like the ShiftBrite table.

Below the break we demonstrate a ShiftBrite module using the Bus Pirate. For a limited time you can get your own Bus Pirate, fully assembled and shipped worldwide, for only $30.

Continue reading “Parts: ShiftBrite RGB LED module (A6281)”

A ShiftBrite Christmas

[Garrett] took 30 of his ShiftBrite modules and mounted them to his front fence for Christmas. The ShiftBrite is a serially addressable high output RGB LED. The individual modules are quite adept at applications like this where you’re stringing multiple lights together. They have identical buses on either side, specifically for daisychaining. The installation above looks great.

Colorize your election party

[Eric] has put together a simple python script to scrape election results from CNN.com. It uses urllib2 to return the popular and electoral votes for each party and throws an ElectionWon exception when CNN calls the race. He’s planning on hooking this to DMX controlled RGB LED lighting that will shift to either blue or red as the night progresses. It’s a great starting point if you want to pull off something similar.

You may remember [Eric] for building the IKEA MAME table and the TRS-80 wireless terminal.

[photo: skenmy]

UPDATE: [Garrett] of macetech is putting the finishing touches on his version which uses 32 ShiftBrite modules and 2 4-digit displays controlled by a CuBLOC.