The Corona Clock

Schools are closed here in Germany until after Easter vacation, and that means that our almost-six-year-old son Max is staying at home with us. The good news is that my wife and I work from home anyway, so it’s not too stressful as long as he can look after himself for eight hours per day. The bad news is that there’s no way a kindergarten kid can take care of himself for such long stretches, and we don’t want to just park him in front of the boob tube. At least there’s two of us.

The new stay-at-home life has required some adjustment, but for at least the first five days (and counting) it’s working out pretty darn well. One trick: my wife came up with the idea of a visual schedule to help Max divide his day up into kindergarten-sized chunks, and then we added an LED strip behind it to turn it into a linear clock of sorts. And we did it with stuff we had lying around the house.

Granted, it’s not a super deep hacky-hack, and some of you out there could probably get it done with a handful of 555 timers. But it was quick, gets the job done, and heck, with NTP sync, it’s the most accurate kiddie clock in the world! So those of you out there who are stuck like we are, trying to balance childcare and working from home, here’s a quick project that can increase familial harmony while giving you an excuse to order more LED strips.

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More LED Madness!

So last week [Caleb] posted an article about hacking a floating LED ball.  In response, here’s a couple simple LED hacks or repurposings that I’ve come up with recently.

glow-cube-LED

LED Solar Glow Cube: If you’ve ever seen path lights lighting up people’s gardens or walkways you may have wondered what components they had in them and how they could be repurposed.  As shown in this article, there’s not much too them other than a circuit board, rechargeable battery, and, of course, a solar panel. Combine this with some leftover foam with a hole in it, and you have the device pictured above.  Really simple, but the results are pretty cool as seen in the video after the break.

LED light-nunchucks

LED Nunchucks: If you thought that wheel lights were only for actual wheels, than you haven’t seen these nunchucks built with some PVC pipe and acceleration-sensitive wheel lights. This may not be much of a “hack” in that they are quite easy to build, but the results are pretty neat, being fun to sling around or even for use in long-exposure photography.  Check out the videos after the break of these nunchucks in action and of some LED light paintings that can be made with them. Continue reading “More LED Madness!”

Roundup: Simple Hacks

simple-hack-110909

Here’s a collection of simple hacks you can do in between larger projects. After the break we’ll look at converting an iPod from hard drive storage to Compact Flash, build an LED desk lamp using LEGO and USB power for charging, and use an Arduino shield to add network control at the touch of a button.

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