Wood And Brass Drink Temperature Monitor Looks Good, Has Class

We’ve all been there. Your current project has hit a wall, or the next step will take days to complete, and you need something to do in the meantime. So you start a project that you envision will fit nicely in the gap, and then, inevitably, it doesn’t. Maybe it even takes so long that the original project gets finished first. So what? There’s nothing wrong with that, especially when the filler project turns out as well as this drink temperature monitor disguised as a circuit sculpture (video, embedded below). Just put your mug on the coaster, and the weight of it activates a hidden switch, which causes the sculpture to display its secret LEDs.

[MakeFunStuff] wanted to make something that looked less like a circuit and more like art, while building a tool that could determine the relative hotness of a beverage. Such a a useful circuit sculpture sounds like a tall order to us, but [MakeFunStuff] pulled it off with finesse and style.

The circuit is based around this Sputnik-looking standalone IR temperature sensor which, as [MakeFunStuff] aptly describes, is “a single-pixel infrared camera that picks up everything in a 90° cone starting at the sensor.”

[MakeFunStuff] paired this easy-to-use sensor with an Arduino Nano and five LEDs that show how hot a beverage is on a scale from 1 to 5. The sensor is hidden in plain sight, suspended from the top of the brass rod sculpture and blending in perfectly. We love that the LEDs are hidden behind a thin layer of carefully-drilled wood and agree that a drill press would have been much easier.

The code is set up for just about every temperature scale from Celsius to Rømer, so that solves that argument. [MakeFunStuff] went with the Kelvin scale because science. Our favorite thing about this video is that [MakeFunStuff] shared their failures and fixes as they built their way toward answering the questions of how to suspend the sensor over the drink, and how best to display the heat level while hiding the electronics. Go grab a hot cup of something and check it out after the break while you let it cool off the normie way.

We admit that we would likely zone out while waiting for the LEDs to disappear. Here’s a smart coaster that uses an ESP8266 to send a message to Discord when your beverage has reached the perfect drinking temperature.

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Cheap, Expandable Floor Piano Plays With Heart And Soul

Ever since we saw the movie Big, we’ve wanted a floor piano. Still do, actually. We sometimes wonder how many floor pianos that movie has sold. It’s definitely launched some builds, too, but perhaps none as robust as this acrylic and wooden beauty by [FredTSL]. If you want more technical detail, check out the project on IO.

The best part is that this piano is modular and easily expands from 1 to 8 octaves. Each octave runs on an Arduino Mega, with the first octave set up as a primary and the others as secondaries. When [FredTSL] turns it on, the primary octave sends a message to find out how many octaves are out there, and then it assigns each one a number. Whenever a note is played via conductive fabric and sensor, the program fetches the key number and octave number and sends the message back to the primary Mega, which plays the note through a MIDI music shield.

We think this looks fantastic and super fun to dance around on. Be sure to check out the build log in photos, and stick around after the break, because you’d better believe they busted out some Heart and Soul on this baby. After all, it’s pretty much mandatory at this point.

Wish you could build a floor piano but don’t have the space or woodworking skills? Here’s a smaller, wireless version that was built in 24 hours.

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Portrait Of A Digital Weapon

Over the years, artists have been creating art depicting weapons of mass destruction, war and human conflict. But the weapons of war, and the theatres of operation are changing in the 21st century. The outcome of many future conflicts will surely depend on digital warriors, huddled over their computer screens, punching on their keyboards and maneuvering joysticks, or using devious methods to infect computers to disable or destroy infrastructure. How does an artist give physical form to an unseen, virtual digital weapon? That is the question which inspired [Mac Pierce] to create his latest Portrait of a Digital Weapon.

[Mac]’s art piece is a physical depiction of a virtual digital weapon, a nation-state cyber attack. When activated, this piece displays the full code of the Stuxnet virus, a worm that partially disabled Iran’s nuclear fuel production facility at Natanz around 2008. Continue reading “Portrait Of A Digital Weapon”

Raspberry Pi Spigot Puts Digits Of Pi On Tap

What did you do for Pi Day? Play with your Raspberry Pi 400? Eat some pizza or other typically round objects and recite all nine digits you’ve got memorized? That’s about where we were at this year. But not [bornach], no. [bornach] went all out and built a spigot that spews digits of Pi well past the first nine decimal places.

This clever spigot sculpture implements the spigot algorithm for generating digits of Pi one-by-one in a stream on to a chain of 8×8 matrices, and does so using a Raspberry Pi (of course). The point of the spigot algorithm is to store as few numbers as possible at any given time by reusing variables. We love the way the digits materialize on the matrix, almost as if they are ink being activated by water. Be sure to check out the build and demo video after the break.

That 10k pot on the top really does control the spigot — since the Pi has no ADC, [bornach] is using the potentiometer to charge a capacitor and using the time it takes to reach the threshold to decide whether the faucet is open or closed. There are a couple of hacks at play here, including the Popsicle-stick LED matrix bracing and the HAT [bornach] fashioned so the daisy-chained 8×8 LED modules could interface with the Pi.

We love Raspberry Pis of all eras around here, especially the darling new Pico. Diminutive as it may be, the Pico can be sliced even smaller with a hacksaw if you don’t mind losing a few GPIO pins.

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Head Lamp Gives Glowing Creature Comforts

What can we say? It’s 2021, and we could probably all use a psychotic glow worm lamp in our lives about now to lighten the mood and/or provide a new focal point for sitting and staring. Tired of dragging out that creepy little Elf on the Shelf every holiday season? [LiabilityLabs]’ Head Lamp is slightly less terrifying and far more functional. Really, the options are limitless.

The brain of this scare snake is an Electromage Pixelblaze LED controller, a powerful Wi-Fi enabled little board with a live web editor. [LiabilityLabs] recycled 20 milky plastic containers and their lids to help diffuse the light and avoid hot spots by holding the LED strip in the center of the tube. There’s a momentary button on the glowy guy’s tail that lets [LiabilityLabs] cycle through different color patterns with ease.

Whether you need a mascot for your stream channel, a confidant, or a refreshing rainbow rubber ducky of problem solving, Head Lamp is flexible. Feast your eyes on some brief animations after the break.

Want the glowies without the willies? This mesmerizing fiber optic lamp is an easy build.

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Elegant And Portable DIY Nightlight Becomes A Fixture For Hacker’s Kids

When [itzikdiy]’s kids asked for a night light for their room, he got the bright idea to build something that straddles the line between portable and permanent. This fixture-less fixture plugs directly into a wall socket and is turned on and off with a handsome rocker switch on the bottom.

This lovely little lamp is mostly made from scrap — the oak on the front appears to have come from an old cabinet door, and the other two ring-shaped pieces are made from pine. [itzikdiy] even took the acrylic from broken panel lamps. Everything was cut with a Dremel and a circle-cutter attachment except the oak, which required a jigsaw. We think it looks great, especially with the different grain directions — call it art deco woodworking.

When it was all said and done, [itzikdiy] found it was too heavy to hang by the plug alone, so he added an L-shaped support beneath the power supply that holds it more evenly against the wall. [itzikdiy] also made a pair of hooks that snap into a pair of slots on the sides of the outlet itself. The solution is simple, sturdy, and effective without disrupting the lines of the lamp at all. Carve out a little bit of time to watch the build video after the break.

We know that someone of your hulking intelligence has no fear of the dark. But if you think you could use a nightlight in the bathroom for those 2 AM trips, look no further.

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Beautiful And Bouncy RGB LED Skirt Reacts To Movement

Is there any garment so freeing to wear as a skirt, assuming it isn’t skin tight? (Well, unless that’s your thing — we won’t judge.) Skirts and dresses are pretty darn freeing compared to pants, so it’s too bad that most of them come without pockets. And it’s really too bad that pretty much all skirts and dresses come without RGB LEDs that can react to movement. Maybe someday.

Until then, we’ll just have to design our own LED skirt like [makeTVee] and his girlfriend did, and hope that it looks half as good. This skirt has six RGB LED strips running down the front for a total of 120 LEDs. The strips are held in place with hook and loop tape and all the electronics — an Adafruit QT Py, a 6-DOF IMU, and a USB power bank — are tucked into the waistband and can be easily removed when it’s time to wash the skirt. Continuing with the practicality theme, there are no LEDs on the back, though they could easily be added in for getting down on the dance floor.

We really love the fabric choices here. The overlay fabric looks good on its own, but it also does a great job of showing and diffusing the light, while at the same time hiding the LED strips themselves. It’s clear that they took comfort and practicality into consideration and made a wearable that’s truly wearable. [makeTVee] calls this a work in progress, but has already got a few nice animations going, which you can see in the video after the break.

If you don’t care whether your wearables are practical, try this fiber optic jellyfish skirt on for size.

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