HypnoLamp: Rebooting the 1970s in 2013

For many of us, the Lava Lamp conjures up images of poorly tailored bell bottoms jeans, long-winded power ballads and arcade games like Space Invaders. As incredible as it may seem to some, the 70’s are long over and probably won’t be making a comeback for at least a few years.

Photo Credit: Novemberchild, WIkipedia

Nevertheless, the Lava Lamp, invented by British accountant Edward Craven-Walker in 1963, is still a favorite choice for connoisseurs of cool, decorating the dorm rooms and frat houses of those who appreciate the ubiquitous cultural icon it has ultimately become. Which begs the question: If the Lava Lamp had a modern successor, what would it look like?

Well, there is a distinct possibility it would bear a close resemblance the uber-cool HypnoLamp. This Atmel-powered device (ATmega328) currently features four programs: Campfire, Matrix, Waves and Fireflies, with three knobs control the energy, tone and color.

So how does it work? According to creator Zach Archer, copper tape is attached to the sides, with strategically placed capacitive sensing tech changing the program when touched.

“The beautiful algorithms use floating point arithmetic (which is more conducive to creative coding than using integers), in HSV color space, which is converted to RGB and pushed to the LED strips at 60 updates per second (effectively 60 FPS), and it runs great, with no performance issues,” Archer explained in a recent blog post.

“Programming the lamp was a joy. Each animation was tweaked until it was hypnotic, yet subtle enough to accent the room.”

Want to know more about Zach Archer’s Atmel-powered HypnoLamp? Check out this page here.

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