Gyro Controlled RGB Blinky Ball Will Light Up Your Life

[James Bruton], from the XRobots YouTube channel is known for his multipart robot and cosplay builds. Occasionally, though, he creates a one-off build. Recently, he created a video showing how to build a LED ball that changes color depending on its movement.

The project is built around a series of 3D printed “arms” around a hollow core, each loaded with a strip of APA102 RGB LEDs. An Arduino Mega reads orientation data from an MPU6050 and changes the color of the LEDs based on that input. Two buttons attached to the Mega modify the way that the LEDs change color. The Mega, MPU6050, battery and power circuitry are mounted in the middle of the ball. The DotStar strips are stuck to the outside of the curved arms and the wiring goes from one end of the DotStar strip, up through the middle column of the ball to the top of the next arm. This means more complicated wiring but allows for easier programming of the LEDs.

Unlike [James’] other projects, this one is a quickie, but it works as a great introduction to programming DotStar LEDs with an Arduino, as well as using an accelerometer and gyro chip. The code and the CAD is up on Github if you want to create your own. [James] has had a few of his projects on the site before; check out his Open Dog project, but there’s also another blinky ball project as well.

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We Want This LED Ball

[Nikolai] has a friend who is into fire and light shows. Her birthday was coming up, so [Nikolai] decided to build something to compliment her performances. He came up with a 10 cm LED ball (Russian, Google translation) that has a matrix of 256 LEDs wrapped around its surface.

The ball’s structural support is its own PCBs. The bottom of the ball is a simple bus – no components needed. The processor module fits into the bus along with the side arcs with LEDs on the edge. The top holds two AA batteries and a MAX1674 step up converter. The view from the inside looks like some sort of bizarre alien device. Very cool.

The central processor module is based around an ATmega88. The microprocessor controls two ‘595 for each of the 16 side panels. So far, four modes of operation have been programmed – a sine graph wrapped around a sphere, a random function, two oscillating circles, and plain old lines. The code for the LED ball is available (offsite link), and thankfully the variables are in English. An impressive piece of engineering and board layout skills.

Check out the video of the LED ball after the break.

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