[Jose’s] latest project brings an old visual effect toy up to date with digital electronics. Most of us are familiar with inexpensive kaleidoscope toys. Some of us have even built cheap versions of them with paper tubes, mirrors, and beads. [Jose] wanted to try to recreate the colorful pattern effects created by a kaleidoscope using an Arduino and an addressable LED strip.
The build is actually pretty simple. The base is a disc of PVC cut to just a few inches in diameter. [Jose] started with an addressable LED strip containing 60 LEDs. He then cut it into 12 sections, each containing five LEDs. The smaller strips were then mounted to the disc, similar to spokes on a bicycle wheel. The LED strip already has an adhesive backing, so that part was trivial.
The final step was to add some kind of diffuser screen. The LED strips on their own are not all that interesting. The diffuser allows the light to blend together, forming interesting patterns that are more reminiscent of the patterns you might see in a real kaleidoscope. Without the diffuser you would just see individual points of light, rather than blended color patterns.
The whole thing is controlled by a small Arduino. [Jose] has made the code available at the bottom of his blog post. Be sure to watch the video of the system in action below.
6 thoughts on “Arduino Powered Digital Kaleidoscope”
sage goes in every field
it needs some fading, but otherwise, great project for rgb leds!
Looks great. Why not add an accelometer and a spinning axis. So then it spins and as it spins it triggers the light patterns based on speed. Just put the arduino on board with a battery.
This is a brilliant idea. Much better than trying to actuate mirrors, like I was thinking.
I love projects with LED rgb! the effect is psychedelic, very cool !!! Thanks!!
This is really a great project. I loved it. Thanks!
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