Lightbulb Glows When You Have That Eureka Moment

We’re not entirely sure where the lightbulb-idea concept came from, but it’s a cultural touchstone rapidly becoming outmoded by the prevalence of compact fluorescent and LED lighting. Despite this, [Alex Glow] and [Moheeb Zara] whipped up the Prometheus Lamp to let you experience it for real.

The build starts with a glass lightbulb souvenir from the Neon Museum in Las Vegas. Inside, a TinyLily Mini microcontroller board is tasked with talking to an accelerometer to detect movement. When the lightbulb is picked up and oriented in the vertical axis, it lights up a NeoPixel LED, glowing to indicate that you’ve just had a remarkable idea! It’s all powered off a single CR2032 coin cell, thanks to the low voltage requirements of the modern TinyLily components.

It’s a build that serves as a good way to learn about accelerometers, and it makes a fun desk toy, too. We’ve seen some other projects go by the name “Prometheus”, too — like a wrist mounted flame thrower. How’s that for variety?

Lighting Up Your Spectrespecs

In the ever-popular world of Harry Potter, a pair of Spectrespecs are useful if you’re hunting for wrackspurts and nargles. While we’ve never spotted either of these creatures ourselves, if you’d like to go out on a hunt, [Laveréna]’s build might be for you.

To start with, you’ll need the frames for the Spectrespecs. [Laveréna] elected to source hers commercially, but you can 3D print them or even craft them by hand if you so desire. Then, a TinyLily microcontroller board is installed, with its small size allowing it to be tucked neatly out of sight in the top of the sunglasses. Two NeoPixels are then installed, with the TinyLily programmed to flash the LEDs in the requisite blue and red colors for easy identification of supernatural creatures.

Tools such as cheap microcontrollers designed for wearables and low-cost addressable LEDs are making advanced cosplay designs easier than ever. Whipping up custom blinkables no longer requires knowledge of advanced multiplexing techniques and how to properly drive high-power LEDs. Of course, LED wearables do still get properly advanced – like this skin-based 7-segment display. If you’ve got a glowable project of your own that you’re dying to share, be sure to let us know!

New Part Day: SK6812 Mini-E. A Hand Solderable Neopixel Compatible LED!

Normally when we give you a New Part Day piece, it concerns a component that you will have never seen before. The subject of this find by [Robert Fitzsimons] then is a slight departure from that norm, given that the SK6812 Mini-E is a WS2812 or Neopixel compatible multi-colour LED of a type that has been available for a while now.

What makes this component new though is its packaging. The Mini-E variant of the SK6812 only appeared last year and has now found its way through to smaller order quantities on AliExpress. Its special feature is that it has a set of flat leads rather than the usual pads on the underside of the package. This means that unlike its predecessors it is readily hand solderable, as he demonstrates by attaching a set of leads to one.

The leads emerge halfway up the side of the device, which seems designed to be mounted recessed within a PCB hole. He demonstrates this with a piece of stripboard, and remarks that they would make a good choice for many small projects such as Shitty Add-On boards.

We’ve touched the leadless SK6812s a few times before, along the way remarking that in some respects they are better than the WS2812 they follow.

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Paper Glows Up With This Origami Wall Piece

[Charlyn] recently found herself dissatisfied with the blank expanse of her bedroom walls. Deciding to take matters into her own hands, she set out to build this exquisite origami wall sculpture.

The piece was inspired by a work originally created by [Coco Sato], which she saw on Design Sponge. Materials were sourced, and [Charlyn] began the arduous process of cutting and folding the many, many pieces of paper that would make up the final piece. There were some missteps along the way, which served as a lesson to test early and test often, but a cup of tea and perseverance got the job done.

With the paper components completed, she looked to the electronics. Ten Neopixel LEDs were hooked up to a Particle Photon, giving the project easy IoT functionality. Thanks to IFTTT, the display can be controlled via Google Home, either glowing to create a relaxing vibe, or shutting off when it’s time to sleep. There’s also a smattering of flowers decorating the piece, somewhat of a [Charlyn] trademark.

The LEDs shine from behind the paper structure, creating a subtle, attractive glow. We’re big fans of the combination of LEDs with origami, and hope to see more projects using the material as an effective diffuser. You can even experiment with conductive materials to take things further. Video after the break.

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Tiny Tree Is A Thermometer For Christmas Fever

Tired of the usual methods for animating all those RGB LEDS for your holiday display? How about using trendiness in a non-trendy way?

[8BitsAndAByte] caved in to increasing holiday madness and bought the cutest little Christmas tree. A special tree deserves special decorations, so they packed it with NeoPixels that turn from red to green and back again one by one. Here’s where the trendiness comes in: the speed at which they change is determined by the popularity of “Christmas” as a search term.

The NeoPixels are controlled by a Raspberry Pi 3B+ that uses PyTrends to grab a value from Google Trends once an hour. The service returns a value between 0 to 100, where 100 means the search term is extremely popular, and 0 means it’s probably the dead of January. Each NeoPixel is wired to the underside of a translucent printed gift box that does a great job of diffusing the light.

You know how Christmas trees have a tendency to stick around well into the new year? This one might last even longer than usual, thanks to the bonus party mode. Press the arcade button on the box cleverly disguised as a present, and the lights change from red to green and back at warp speed while the speaker inside blasts the party anthem of your choice. Be sure to check out the demo/build video waiting for you under after the break.

How could this little tree get any more special? Well, a rotating platform couldn’t hurt.

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Addressable LED Strings In Your USB

WS2812Bs, or NeoPixels, or whatever else you call them brought full-color LEDs to maker projects a meter at a time in recent years. Hooked up to a microcontroller, they make creating vibrant, full-color glowables a cinch. They won’t work on their own though, and a some point you want to ditch the dev board and let the blinking stand on its own two feet. Enter the USB LED Otter.

This small square of PCB lets you plug an LED strip directly into a USB port. The PCB itself has four traces on the back that mate with any USB port, and three pads for soldering the strip’s ground, 5 Volt line, and data. An STM32F072 microcontroller serves as the brains of the operation, packing plenty of horsepower and full compatibility with USB 2.0.

Code is flashed to the chip over USB using Device Firmware Upgrade (DFU) and once written the strip can then be driven by jamming the string into a suitably powerful USB wall charger. The man behind the build, [Jan Henrik], has mentioned that Open Pixel Control could be implemented but that may be an exercise left to the reader.

It’s a useful little tool, and one that promises to do even more with a little more development. Whipping up a few boards should be an easy task for anyone with a reflow oven and a free weekend. Oh, and if you’re tired of the WS2812? There’s other addressable LEDs out there, too!

Icosahedron Glows With The Best Of Them

Glowables come in all shapes and sizes, and we’re always keen to see the multitude of different ways hackers find to put great masses of LEDs to good use. [cabrera.101] wanted to get in on the action, and whipped up a rather flashy icosahedron.

The build uses high-density 144-LED-per-meter strips for the edges, with 60-LED-per-meter strips used for the tubes that connect to the stainless steel ball in the centre. An Arduino Mega controls the Neopixel strips, with the wiring carefully planned out to ensure all LEDs have adequate power and signal to operate correctly. Not one to skimp on the juice, [cabrera.101] outfitted the rig with a 5V, 60A power supply – something that would have seemed ridiculous in 1992, but barely raises an eyebrow today.

It’s a build that would make a perfect whatchamacallit for a science fiction film. The reflections of the edge lights on the central sphere are particularly scintilliating. If you’re new to the realm of glowables, it’s easy to start – there are plenty of tools to help, too. Video after the break.

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