There is a lot of spectacle on display at Maker Faire. But to be honest, what I love seeing the most are well-executed builds pulled off by passionate hackers. Such is the case with [Debra Ansell]. She wasn’t exhibiting, just taking in all the sights like I was. But her bag was much better than my drab grey camera-equipment filled backpack; she build a handbag with an LED matrix and did it so well you will scratch your head trying to figure out if she bought it that way or not.
Gerrit and I walked right up and asked if she’d show it to us. We weren’t the only ones either. [Debra’s] bag started drawing a crowd as she pulled out her cellphone and sent “Hackaday” to the 10×15 matrix over Bluetooth. Check out our video interview below.
I think what makes this really special is her work on obscuring the LED strips that make up the matrix. She laid out the LEDs, cut leather strips to perfectly space out each of the APA102c pixels, then proceeded to weave, sew, and glue the assembly together.
An Adafruit Feather board, with an optional Bluefruit LE, drives the display. It’s a sweet solution because it gets [Debra] the cellphone connectivity all in a single board. She doesn’t have this version of the bag up on her site yet but is working on it. For now, check out the earlier revision that puts a grid of LEDs behind grommets. A cool idea but I think this new version is much better.
She has a bunch of other great builds up on her website so make sure to browse around a little bit. I’m still delighted by [Debra’s] EtchABot which we looked at earlier this year. It adds automation to a pocket-sized Etch a Sketch, including erase functionality and she’s even selling a kit for it on Tindie.