LED floor lamp really ties the room together


Instructables user [lincomatic] was doing some home decorating and was trying to find something that would really tie the room together. He decided against adding a nice rug, a light fixture is what he was after. Rather than settle on a simple lamp for the corner of the room, he constructed an 8×8 RGB LED fixture he calls the Lampduino.

He constructed the 8×8 grid using some leftover cardboard packaging, then got to work wiring up the LED strands. In a rather unorthodox move, he decided to wire wrap the LED leads instead of soldering them. Once the LEDs were in place, he wired everything up to his Colorduino, an Arduino derivative specially made for driving large quantities of LEDs. A thin sheet of drafting film was placed on both sides of the board, then it was mounted on a stand for display.

His Daft Punk-esque lamp can be programmed to display just about anything from color patterns to video game sprites, and it can also be timed to music if desired. We think it looks great, and could make for a nice wall hanging if he ever got sick of the stand. While the wire wrap technique sounds like it sped up the development of this project significantly, we would be interested in hearing how it holds up after a few months of use.

Check out the trio of videos embedded below to see the Lampduino in action.

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HIDUINO: Your Arduino is Now A MIDI Interface

[Dimitri Diakopoulos] dropped into our tip line to let us know his HIDUINO project. The HIDUINO is a set of firmware for the ATmega8u2 used in the new revisions of the Arduino  (Uno, and Mega2560 for example).  Once the HIDUINO is loaded your Arduino can show up as any HID compliant device you wish, no extra drivers necessary. This means that using this firmware, music software such as Max, Ableton, Reaktor etc can read and write MIDI directly to/from the Arduino. Currently the project is for direct USB-MIDI communication but could be altered to act as a variety of HID devices.

Flashing the ATmega8u2 with your own device type or name requires a bit of work on the developers part like owning an ISP programmer, soldering header pins to the board, and re-flashing the ATmega8u2 every time you want to load new code into the Arduino. Users without an ISP can still flash HIDUINO using Atmel’s FLIP software (Windows) or the DFU programmer (Mac OS X and Linux) and a precompiled HIDUINO firmware. They still have to solder a jumper on the underside of the board to use the DFU bootloader.

This firmware could certainly benefit anyone building an Arduinome , Joystick, or any variety of devices that users simply want to interface to a PC without additional software.

A guide for ISP flashing can be found at [Dimitri]’s site.

Wireless animatronic hand control


[Easton] was looking to enter his local science fair and needed a project that would wow the judges. After considering it for a bit, he decided that an animatronic hand would be a sure winner. Many animatronic projects we have seen are connected to a computer for control purposes, but his is a bit different.

[Easton] wanted to be able to control the hand in real time with his own movements, so he sewed some flex sensors onto a glove and wired them up to a custom Arduino shield he built. The Arduino is also connected to an XBee radio, allowing it to interface with his animatronic hand wirelessly.

He built the hand after studying anatomical drawings to better understand where finger joints were located and how they moved. He cut up pieces of flexible wire tubing to build the fingers, reinforcing them with Lego bricks. He ran fishing wire from the finger tips to five independent servos to provide the hand’s motion. Another Arduino with an XBee shield was used to control the hand and receive wireless signals from the glove.

Check out the video below to see why this project won [Easton] first place in the science fair.

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Open Source Wireless Mesh Networking Energy Meter

[Jay Kickliter] writes in to tell us about his open source energy/power meter. With his buddy [Frank Lynam] they designed a small device that crams into existing power boxes and uses and 8 core propeller (P8X32A) microcontroller to perform true RMS voltage and current measurements using a current transformer. [Frank] and [Jay] don’t stop there. The meter also features an xbee pro 900 MHZ to provide wireless (and even mesh networking) capabilities to the whole ordeal.

[Jay and Frank] estimate a total unit cost of around $80 (US) per prototype. With volume the price goes down by about half. With a larger number of units, and the magic of mesh networking, we could see cheaper xbee’s driving the cost down some. Check out the Google code page for details or the schematic (pdf) if you are interested.

So far the project is in the beta stages, and only features a single module sending data to a PC running an OS X Cocoa application. [Jay] is about to be otherwise occupied by the Merchant Marines and [Frank] the Navy, so they figured we could have a go at it for awhile.

We have seen other hardware used to monitor power consumption, but cramming this circuit into each power box is a neat idea.

[Frank] explains the whole project in the video after the jump.

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