Minimalist LED Lamp Is Circular Beauty Incarnate

Lamps used to be things built to provide light with specific purpose, whether as reading lamps, desk lamps, or bedside table lamps. Now we just build them for the vibes, as with this minimalist LED lamp from [andrei.erdei].

The build uses a 3D-printed frame printed in opaque grey, with a diffuser element printed in a more translucent white. This is key to allowing the LED to nicely glow through the lamp without ugly distracting hotspots spoiling the effect. The lamp mounts 36 WS2812B LEDs in strip form. These are controlled from an Arduino Nano running the FastLED library for lightweight and easy control of the addressable LEDs. Smooth rainbow animations are made easy by the use of the HSV color space, which is more suitable for this job than the RGB color space you may otherwise be more familiar with.

[andrei.erdei] does a great job of explaining the build, including the assembly, electronics, and code aspects. The latter could serve as a particularly good resource if you’re just starting out on your own builds in the blinky, glowable space. Video after the break.

Continue reading “Minimalist LED Lamp Is Circular Beauty Incarnate”

A WiFi RGB Camera Grip Is Probably Not Ideal For Night Shoots

RGB LEDs can be found on everything from motherboards to sticks of RAM these days. [dslrdiy] wanted to bring this same visual flair to his camera setup, so built what he’s calling the world’s first RGB camera grip.

The build is based on an existing off-the-shelf camera grip. It’s disassembled for the build, with a pair of 18650 lithium batteries installed inside as a power supply. They run a small DC-DC converter, which powers a Raspberry Pi Zero and a WS2812B LED strip which provides the lovely colorful lighting effects. The LEDs light up a translucent spacer installed in the camera grip solely for the purpose of aesthetics.

So far, so straightforward. However, [dslrdiy] also implemented one more useful feature. The Pi Zero is able to scrape photos from the camera, and automatically load them on to a Windows network share. That’s a nice zero-fuss way to get pictures off your camera when you return to your home network.

We’re not sure too many professional photographers will rush after the RGB grip, as it’s often poor practice to introduce strange uncontrolled colorful lights into a scene. However, the wireless tethering feature does seem attractive depending on your usual workflow. Video after the break.

Continue reading “A WiFi RGB Camera Grip Is Probably Not Ideal For Night Shoots”

A Nifty Tool For Counting Neopixels

Picture it. You’ve got a big roll of NeoPixels, but you have no idea how many are actually on the tape. Or you need to count how many WS2812B LEDs are in a display to properly plan your animations. Fear not, for [Gustavo Laureano] has built the perfect tool for counting the addressable LEDs.

The tool is based on a Raspberry Pi Pico, so it’s easy to replicate at home. The LED strip is simply connected to the microcontroller via a set of jumper wires going to the 5V and GND pins, while one of the Pico’s ADC pins is then connected to the strip’s GND pin after the jumper. A further GPIO pin is used to send data to the strip.

Essentially, this uses the jumper wire as a rudimentary current shunt. The code steps through the string of LEDs, turning each one on and then off in turn, comparing the value read by the ADC pin at each state. When the Pico detects no difference in current draw between the on and off states, that suggests it’s trying to turn on an LED beyond the end of the string, and thus the count is concluded.

You don’t need to understand any of that to put this device to good use, however. You can easily whip it up on a breadboard with a Pi Pico and parts you have lying around in the shop. Video after the break.

Continue reading “A Nifty Tool For Counting Neopixels”

Visual Ear Demonstrates How The Cochlea Works

The cochlea is key to human hearing, and it plays an important role in our understanding of complex frequency content. The Visual Ear project aims to illustrate the cochlear mechanism as an educational tool.

The cochlea itself is the part of the ear that converts the pressure waves of sound into electrical signals for the brain. Different auditory frequencies excite different parts of the cochlea. The cells in the different parts of the cochlea then send signals to the brain corresponding to the sound it has picked up.

The Visual Ear demonstrates similar behavior on a strip of addressable LEDs. Lower LEDs coded in the red part of the color spectrum respond to low frequency audio. Higher LEDs step through yellow, green, and up to blue, and respond to the higher frequencies in turn. This is achieved at a high response rate with the use of a Teensy 4.0 running a Fast Fourier Transform on incoming audio, and then outputting signals to run a string of WS2812B LEDs. The result is a visual band display of 104 bands spanning 43 Hz up to 16,744 Hz, which covers most but not all of the human range of hearing.

It’s an impressive display, and one that makes a great music visualizer, too. When teaching the physics of human hearing and the cochlea, we can imagine such a tool would be quite useful.

Continue reading “Visual Ear Demonstrates How The Cochlea Works”

Displaying The Time Is Elemental With This Periodic Table Clock

We see a lot of clocks here at Hackaday, so many now that it’s hard to surprise us. After all, there are only so many ways to divide the day into intervals, as well as a finite supply of geeky and quirky ways to display the results, right?

That’s why this periodic table clock really caught our eye. [gocivici]’s idea is a simple one: light up three different elements with three different colors for hours, minutes, and seconds, and read off the time using the atomic number of the elements. So, if it’s 13:03:23, that would light up aluminum in blue, lithium in green, and vanadium in red. The periodic table was designed in Adobe Illustrator and UV printed on a sheet of translucent plastic by an advertising company that specializes in such things, but we’d imagine other methods could be used. The display is backed by light guides and a baseplate to hold the WS2812D addressable LEDs, and a DS1307 RTC module gives the Arduino Nano a sense of time. The 3D printed frame of the clock has buttons for setting the time and controlling the clock; the brief video below shows it going through its paces.

We really like the attention to detail [gocivici] showed here; that UV printing really gave some great results. And what’s not to like about the geekiness of this clock? Sure, it may not be as action-packed as a game of periodic table Battleship, but it would make a great conversation starter.

Continue reading “Displaying The Time Is Elemental With This Periodic Table Clock”

Decorative Clock Uses LED Strips To Beautiful Effect

Clocks used to be dowdy old things with mechanical hands and sometimes even little cuckoo birds that would pop out to chime the hour. [David] built something altogether more modern that uses shifting colors on LED strips to tell the time.

The core of the build is an ESP8266, which queries an NTP time server to keep itself synced up with the current time as accurately as possible. It then controls a WS2812B LED strip to display the time. The strip itself is hidden in a 3D-printed housing behind an opaque wooden ring, with the light from the LEDs diffusing out nicely on to the wall upon which the clock is mounted.

The display shows three “hands” in the colors it projects on the wall. The red second hand is projected inside and outside the ring. The minute hand is green, and projects outside the ring. Meanwhile, the hour hand is blue, and projects inside the ring. Without any numerical markings, you won’t get an exact reading of the time, but you can figure it out closely enough. As a bonus, the clock looks like a stylish light-based wall sculpture and your guests may not even realizes it tells the time.

We’ve featured [David’s] work before too, in the form of the handy ESP8266 breadboard socket. Video after the break.

Continue reading “Decorative Clock Uses LED Strips To Beautiful Effect”

A two picture montage of a boy wearing a sonic the hedgehog costume with LEDs in them. The left picture is at night with the boy wearing sunglasses and a face mask with the sonic costume head piece lit up. The right picture is during the day with the boy wearing a face mask, holding a plastic pu mpkin bucket for candy and wearing a lit up sonic the hedgehog costume in the front yard of a house.

LEDs Put New Spin On A Sonic The Hedgehog Costume

[Wentworthm] couldn’t say no to his son’s plea for a Sonic the Hedgehog costume for Halloween but also couldn’t resist sprucing it up with LEDs either. The end result is a surprisingly cool light up Sonic the Hedgehog costume.

a picture of a breadboard with an Arduino Nano on it, with wires going out to 3d printed tear dropped shapes that have LED strips in them, with some LED strips on.

After some experimentation, [Wentworthm] ordered two costumes and ended up mixing and matching the head piece of one with the body suit of the other. For the head, [Wentworthm] created six 3D printed “quills” that had slots for the WS2812B LED strips to slide into and diffuse out the sides, with each quill sliding into the folds of the Sonic head “spikes”. Sewn strips of cloth were used to house the LED strips that were placed down the sides of the costume. An additional 3D printed switch housing was created to allow for a more robust interface to the two push buttons to activate the LEDs. An Arduino Nano, soldered to a protoboard, was used to drive the LED strips with a USB battery pack powering the whole project.

[Wentworthm] goes into more detail about the trials and errors, so the post is definitely worth checking out for more detail on the build. Halloween is always a great source of cool costumes and we’ve featured some great ones before, like a light up crosswalk costume to making a giant Gameboy colour costume.

Video after the break!

Continue reading “LEDs Put New Spin On A Sonic The Hedgehog Costume”