Sound-Reactive Light Saber Flips Allegiance Via Vowel Sounds

Students [Berk Gokmen] and [Justin Green] developed an RP2040-based LED-illuminated lightsaber as a final project with a bit of a twist. It has two unusual sound-reactive modes: disco mode, and vowel detection mode.

Switching allegiances (or saber color, at least) is only a sound away.

Disco mode alters the color of the saber dynamically in response to incoming sounds. Color and brightness are altered in response to incoming frequencies picked up by the on-board microphone, making a dynamic light show that responds particularly well to music.

The second mode is vowel detection, and changes the lightsaber’s color depending on spoken sounds. The “ee” sound makes the saber red, and the “ah” sound turns it blue. This method requires a lot of processing and filtering, and in the end it works, but is quite dependent on individual speakers for calibration.

The sound functionality centers around FFTs (Fast Fourier Transforms) which are fundamental to processing signals like audio in a meaningful way, and is a method accessible to embedded devices like microcontrollers with ADCs.

The lightsaber is battery-powered and wireless, and there are loads of details about the finer points of the design (including challenges and tradeoffs) on the project page, and the source code is available on GitHub. A video demonstration and walkthrough is embedded below.

Continue reading “Sound-Reactive Light Saber Flips Allegiance Via Vowel Sounds”

Daunting Interactive LED Dancefloor Build Is Huge Win

If you’ve ever thought about having a light-up dance floor at an event, the chances are you will have been shocked at the rental cost. Doing your best impression of a young John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever doesn’t come cheap, it seems. When faced with this problem before the Furnal Equinox 2017 convention, [Av] and friends decided instead to build their own LED-lit floor.

Their design and build is shown in the video we’ve placed below the break, and though each individual light unit is straightforward it is the scale of the project and its epic build that makes it a very impressive achievement. There are 64 panels of 4 light cells, giving a total of 256 cells and 7680 RGB LEDs arranged as 2560 pixels. Each panel has a shift register PCB interfacing LEDs to the Teensy that controls the floor, and there are also microswitches talking to an Arduino Mega which provides the floor with interactivity. It’s hard to imaging this build would be possible without the people numerous who pitched in at the Toronto Hacklab for the assembly process.

The resulting 17 foot square dancefloor is a work of art, with custom programmed graphics responding to dancers moves, and even a few games along the lines of Dance Dance Revolution built in. After watching the video below, how many of you will secretly want one?

Continue reading “Daunting Interactive LED Dancefloor Build Is Huge Win”

Press Button Get Party Mode

partymode2_2 If you’re looking to do something awesome with a graphing calculator, [Chris] is the guy to go to. He’s literally written the book on the subject. His PartyMode project, however, has absolutely nothing to do with calculators. It’s a fantastic display of lights, colors, and sounds that has been rebuilt again and again over the years, and something [Chris] has finally gotten around to documenting.

The idea for [Chris]’ PartyMode is a single button that will transform a room from a boring computer lab or dorm room into a disco with 22.4 channel sound, and computer displays used as panels of color. The first version began in the lab in his school’s EE department that included ten CRT monitors. There were a few VUFans featured on the good ‘ol Hackaday, but a few problems with regulations and politics brought this version of PartyMode to a premature end.

The second version is a miniaturized, ‘press a button, get a party’ setup with a crazy number of RGB LEDs, a few more of those computer fan VU meters, and a Bluetooth app to control everything. Unlike the first version, the PartyMode 2.0 is fully independent from a computer, instead relying on an ATMega to do the audio processing and handling the Bluetooth interface. Judging from the videos below, it’s quite the site, and if you need an instant party, you could do much worse.

Continue reading “Press Button Get Party Mode”

Hacking A Disco Laser

hacked laser disco

[Mark] was looking for a cheap disco laser projector for parties, and he found one. Unfortunately for him, the advertised features were a bit lacking. The “sound activation mode” was merely an on off circuit, as opposed to it actually being controlled by the music — he set out to fix this.

Taking the unit apart revealed a very convenient design for hacking. All of the components were connected to the main PCB by connectors, meaning the laser driver board was completely separate! He replaced the PCB completely using a prototyping board, an Arduino pro mini, a microphone with a simple preamp, a rotary encoder, and a MSGEQ7 chip to analyse the levels. Oh, and a MOSFET to control the motor via PWM output. It even ended up being close to the same size as the original!

If you happen to have one of these projectors and want to fix it too, he’s posted the source code and circuit diagram on github.

After the break, check out the before and after video. It’s still a cheap disco laser projector, but at least it works as advertised now!

Continue reading “Hacking A Disco Laser”

Disco Isn’t Dead: Diy Dance Floor Spotted At Student Parties

Your party is lame if it doesn’t include interactive blinking lights on the dance floor. [Mario] and [Lukas] didn’t want to have lame parties, so they enlisted some fellow students to build an interactive dance floor (translated). The finished party-piece is 4 meters by 2.5 meters (that’s about 13’x8′ for us yanks) and includes 160 lighted squares. But it’s the electronics that really make this a heavy project.

Milled into the underside of the pressboard base are a series of pockets and channels to hold various components. If you look hard enough, you’re going to find eight AVR microcontrollers which control the LEDs, 8 CPLDs to manage the weight sensors which make the floor interactive, and an FPGA and embedded computer to tie everything together. It’s movable, a hit at parties, and so far it seems to hold up to the occasional spilled beverage.

You can’t share a project like this without some video. See it after the break.

Continue reading “Disco Isn’t Dead: Diy Dance Floor Spotted At Student Parties”

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.

Continue reading “LED Floor Lamp Really Ties The Room Together”