So after seeing Atmel in the parking lot, a hexapod 3-D printer, and a Geiger counter powered by Atmel, I went over to the “dark” pavilion with all the light shows and Tesla coil. I immediately was drawn to a booth with spinning bicycle wheels that had LED lights spelling out custom messages as you ride.
I didn’t want to ask the secrets of MonkeyLectric’s LED display, but my guess is that they use an accelerometer to determine “down.” Remember, gravity is an acceleration and you can sense it with an accurate accelerometer. Now that you know “down” you can flash the LEDs at precise times to spell out whatever you want or even draw pictures. Human persistence of vision takes care of the rest.
So I really loved the images MonkeyLectric spells out, the pictures cannot do them justice. I ask who the technical genius is that came up with this. Laurent points me to Dan Goldwater, the engineer. Dan tells me that he used Atmel chips developed with the GNU tool chain. Like I said—every cool thing I was attracted to at Maker Faire had Atmel chips inside.
Dan is having a great time at MonkeyLectric, coming up with new and improved products and living every engineer’s dream of working on his own project. Even the support stuff at their booth was cool—below is a Zero-Halliburton case with the control panel for one of their lights.