VU Meter Prom Dress

vu meter prom dress

[Kyle] has just put the finishing touches on this VU Meter Prom dress, and it looks great!

The dress makes use of 70 feet of aquamarine EL wire, a 2600mAh li-on battery, a repurposed DB9 cable, an Arduino knock off, an Adafruit microphone pre-amp, and features eight addressable triac channels through an EL Escudo Dos by Sparkfun. Each loop of EL wire was sewn into the dress using clear thread. The separate segments were then daisy chained together near the zipper in the back using ribbon cables. To top it all off, [Kyle] has a cheap thermoforming setup utilizing a toaster oven which he used to make an acrylic case for the electronics.

The dress is for his lucky friend [Diane] and we think it will make for quite a memorable prom! To see this awesome VU Meter in action, stick around after the break for the video.

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Scratch-built bottle cap coffee table pulses to the music

scratch-build-bottlecap-coffe-table

This isn’t a thrift-store coffee table modified as a craft project. [Dandujmich] built it from the ground-up using framing lumber, bottle caps, plastic resin, and some electronics for bling.

The first step was to see if he had enough caps on hand for the project. It’s hard to grasp how many were used just by looking at it, but the gallery description tells us there’s about 1700 which went into the design! From there he grabbed some 2x4s and began construction. The table legs started with two end assemblies built by doweling the legs to the end cross pieces. From there he cut a rabbit on the side rails and screwed them to the leg assemblies from the inside.

The tabletop includes a frame with a recessed area deep enough to keep the caps below the surface. After spending about ten hours super gluing all of the caps in place he mixed and poured two gallons of the resin to arrive at a glass-like finish. The final touch is some custom hardware which pulses two rows of embedded LEDs to music being played in the room. The video after the break isn’t fantastic, but it gives you some idea of how that light rig works.

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Add some animated bling to your GQ duds

geeky-tie-uses-animated-leds

This tie turned VU meter has us asking: Will anyone be able to look you in the eye during a conversation? It uses an integrated microphone and microcontroller to make a single-column display made of RGB LEDs move to ambient sound.

It shouldn’t be hard to guess that this project is another build from [Becky Stern]. She’s been on fire lately, offering up glowing football helmets and a turn-signal backpack. This uses the same family of components as the latter. A Flora board brings an Arduino to the party. It drives sixteen RGB LED pixels which are addressed using a 1-wire protocol. Sound is measured through a microphone and amplifier breakout board.

Since the hardware gets in the way of a full-windsor, the tie used for the project is a breakaway version which uses velcro. But because you need the needle and (conductive) thread to sew on the components it wouldn’t be hard to alter any tie to perform like this.

Don’t miss the high-quality video tutorial which we’ve embedded after the break.

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Color LED matrix VU meter shows how to use FFT with Arduino

If you’ve ever wanted to make your own VU meter but were scared off by the signal process you need to study this tutorial.

Hackaday Alum [Phil Burgess] developed the device using an RGB LED matrix, microphone, and an Arduino. You’ll notice that is doesn’t include an MSGEQ7 chip which we see in most of these types of projects. We have seen a few that use the Fast Fourier Transform to map the audio signal on the display as this one does. But [Phil's] choice of an assembly language Library for ATmega chips makes this really simple to roll into your own projects.

The one drawback to the hardware choices made here is that there are only eight bits of vertical resolution. It takes a little creative interpretation to make this look good, but the use of color mixing really makes a difference. See for yourself in the demo after the break.

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Hackaday Links: November 29th, 2012

EMC2 CNC keyboard labels

If you’ve got a dedicated computer running EMC2 for CNC control you may be interested in these keyboard labels. [Rich] mentions that they use the labels for their engraver at the Connecticut Hackerspace. Just print them out and glue them in the face of the keys.

Dev board seminars and freebies

[Mike] wrote in to tell us STM is giving away samples of the STM32 F3 Discovery again. But you can also get in on some free seminars. One is an online webinar for TI’s Launchpad family, the other is for the F3 Discovery board and is being held all around the US.

Replacing batteries with USB power

[Johan] didn’t want to use batteries for the light on the microscope he uses when working with SMT parts. He added a few components with let him power the device from USB instead.

MSP430 VU meter uses FFT

Here’s an MSP430 using Fast Fourier Transform for signal processing. There’s very little explanation, but apparently this collection of FFT related material was used heavily in the project. [via Reddit]

Cell Racr

If you’re looking for a new office game you might consider Cell Racr. It pits your cellphone’s vibrating motor against everyone else’s. Just place the phone on an incline and repeatedly dial its number to advance toward the finish line.

8x8x8 LED cube and the board that drives it

Check out the LED cube which [Thomas], [Max], and [Felix] put together. But don’t forget to look at that beautiful PCB which drives it… nice! But hardware is only part of what goes into a project like this one. After the soldering iron had cooled they kept going and wrote their own software to generate patterns for the three-dimensional display.

Looking at a clean build like this one doesn’t drive home the amount of connections one has to make to get everything running. To appreciate it you should take a look at this other 512 LED cube which has its wires showing. You can see from the schematic (available in the project repository) that all of these lines are managed by a series of shift registers. The board itself connects to a computer from which it gets the visualization commands. A Java program they call CubeControl can push letters or turn the cube into a VU meter.

The team built at least two of these. This smaller version uses red LEDs, while the larger one shown in the video after the break has blue ones.

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Hackaday Links: November 15, 2012

Another way to break out dual pin headers

[Uwe] wrote in to share his technique for breaking out dual pin headers. He uses two single pin headers, a piece of protoboard, and a dual row pin socket to make an adapter. This is removable where the other method we saw this week was not.

Web-based slide show hack

Wanting to use an old Android tablet as a digital picture frame, [Gordon] coded up a simple way to use an HTML page to scan your picture directories to feed a rotating background image.

The simplest hot plate

For his chemistry experiments [Charlie] is using a plain old clothes iron for a hot plate. he simply clamps it upside down to the bench. It doesn’t have any stirring abilities, but we already have an old iron in the shop which we use for toner transfer so we’ll have to keep this in mind if we ever need to heat chemicals (might be a good way to warm etchant).

A charging VU meter

This Cambrionix series8 universal charger has columns of LEDs that are animated when a device is charging. [Steve Tyson] works for the company and has had some fun messing with the firmware. He’s showing off the display as a VU meter.

Game Boy knockoff teardown

This wide-form-factor Game Boy is a knockoff from way back when the original system hit the market. You won’t want to miss this lengthy post that takes a look at what’s inside. [Thanks Neil]