Mercurial Light Box Has A Secret Switch

Hit up the lighting aisle of any big box hardware store these days and you’ll probably find a variety of Edison bulbs — modern bulbs meant to evoke the bare, complicated tungsten filament bulbs from the early days of electric candlelight. Edison bulbs use filament LEDs, which resemble skinny candles with wicks at both ends and give off a nice light, especially when diffused by acrylic.

This simple light box uses two filament LEDs that float inside on an internal circuit sculpture. [lonesoulsurfer] likes to use old cell phone batteries and USB charging boards in his builds, and that’s exactly what’s inside this box.

Our favorite part of the build elevates this simple light box into a curiosity for those not in the know. It’s controlled with a mercury tilt switch, so all you’d have to do in a power outage is locate the box and turn it upside down, provided it has a charge.

We love elemental switch design around here, like this light box that switches on with salt water.

MIDI Melodies Make Moody Milieu

MIDI piano lights

In this beautiful, well-documented, cat-assisted hack, [capricorn1] adds visual dimension to his impressive piano skills by using his keyboard’s MIDI output to drive Edison bulbs.

He hung them from a rod of electrical conduit pipe and threaded the wires through it to a DB25 connector. The lights are controlled by an Arduino Mega plus a custom shield with an optocoupler to handle zero cross detection. He happened to already have a board with 12 SSRs on it from another project. All of the electronics are in a re-purposed switch box—the switches control four different modes: classic, velocity, scrolling, and automatic. You’ll see the scrolling mode in the video after the jump.

[capricorn1] used a small sampling of the Arduino MIDI Library, namely the note on/off functions and the control change function to handle his sustain pedal. He’s listed the full code for the project, which includes usage of the ipMIDI module for automation over WiFi.

If you don’t have a MIDI keyboard or any Edison bulbs, you could make a MIDI floor piano. You’re required to play both “Chopsticks” and “Heart and Soul” on it, though. Those are like the Hello, World for floor pianos.

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