Oftentimes, when programming, we’ll put configuration switches into a config file in order to control the behaviour of our code. However, having to regularly open a text editor to make changes can be a pain. This colorful little DIP switch dongle from [Glen Aikins] makes for a fun alternative solution.
The build is simple, relying on a rainbow-colored 8-pin DIP switch as the core of the project. A PIC16F1459 then reads the position of the switches, with the 8-bit microcontroller doing the job of speaking USB to the host machine. The device enumerates as a USB HID device, and reports to the host machine when queried as to the state of its 8 switches. [Glen] used a basic C# app to show a digital representation of the switches on screen changing as per the real physical DIP switch plugged into the machine.
It’s a great tool for controlling up to 8 different parameters in a program you might be working on, without having to dive into your editor to change the relevant parts. Also, it bears noting that the rainbow design is simply very fetching and a cool thing to have plugged into your computer. It’s a more serious device than [Glen’s] hilarious 4-byte “solid state drive” that we saw recently, but we love them both all the same!
Press that blue button on the side, and the RGB LEDs along the top are put in randomized order. The object of this game is simple — just sort the rainbow before the other player by pressing each LED’s corresponding arcade button. Whoever sorts faster is rewarded with a rainbow animation behind their set of way-cool clear buttons.
When you saw the picture for this article, did you think of a peacock’s feather? These fibers are not harvested from birds, and in fact, the colors come from transparent rubber. As with peacock feathers, they come from the way light reflects off layers of differing materials, this is known as optical interference, and it is the same effect seen on oil slicks. The benefit to using transparent rubber is that the final product is flexible and when drawn, the interference shifts. In short, they change color when stretched.
Most of the sensors we see and feature are electromechanical, which has the drawback that we cannot read them without some form of interface. Something like a microcontroller, gauge, or a slew of 555 timers. Reading a single strain gauge on a torque wrench is not too tricky, but simultaneously reading a dozen gauges spread across a more complex machine such as a quadcopter will probably require graphing software to generate a heat map. With this innovation it could now be done with an on-board camera in real-time. Couple that with machine learning and perhaps you could launch Skynet. Or build a better copter.
The current proof-of-concept weaves the fibers into next-generation bandages to give an intuitive sense of how tightly a dressing should be applied. For the average first-aid responder, the rule is being able to slide a finger between the fabric and skin. That’s an easy indicator, but it only works after the fact whereas saying that the dressing should be orange while wrapping gives constant feedback.
[mudlevel] built this rainbow graffiti producing robot for an art exhibit in San Diego. While there are no build details we can easily pick this apart from the pictures. Looks like the brains are an arduino, the drive is a power drill with the trigger removed, and a few other servos for firing the spray cans. The counter weighted arm for creating the rainbow was a pretty good idea too. Watching this, we had an idea for a super simple purely mechanical way to do this that would be similar to a catapult. You could use the motion of the trailer to “wind up” the counter balance with a simple ratcheting spool of string attached to the axle. Engage your spray cans and let the balance drop and you’re done. Pedal on to re-wind the counterbalance for another rainbow.
This rainbow is and is not natural. It’s the product of rainwater and sunlight so in that respect it’s natural. But as you can see, it’s not raining. This is an art installation that uses captured rainwater, stored solar electricity, and irrigation equipment to float a heavy blanket of mist in the air. The prismatic effects of the suspended water particles separate the sunlight into various bands by wavelength and a rainbow springs into existence.
We’ve done this before with a garden hose in the back yard. It might be fun to try to build a version that recycles the water as this does, perhaps using a rain barrel as a reservoir. It would certainly be much easier than pulling off that water-based 3-D display we’ve been meaning to undertake.