Tag Archives: IKEA Hacks

Maker dad builds a MIDI-enabled highchair

This IKEA highchair hack is tray-mazing!

We’ve seen Maker parents mod their children’s odds and ends in the past, but this highchair may have taken it to a whole new level. That’s because Phil Tucker has hacked his baby’s $20 IKEA dining accessory into pro-gamer training rig and then some.


To make the aptly named Highscore Chair a reality, Tucker scavenged a pair of joysticks and buttons for true arcade aesthetics, as well as an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) to trigger samples loaded onto an Akai MPC1000 synthesizer via the MIDI interface. There’s also a battery supplying some power. These electronics will be, if not already, housed inside an enclosure underneath the tray for enhanced safety.


“I’ve added MIDI out, which amounts to 10 MIDI triggers, eight for each joystick and one for each button. The Highscore Chair now triggers samples loaded onto an Akai MPC1000, but with MIDI out it could be used as any sort of control surface now,” Tucker explains.


Gaming aside, what’s really cool about this project is that it can become modular with various trays for different activities. (This particular IKEA piece enables you purchase extra interchangeable tabletops.) Think Graco meets LEGO.

Sound like something you’d love for you or your child? Head over to the Maker’s project page here.

Hacking an IKEA lamp into your own Death Star

Over the years, IKEA has become quite synonymous with do-it-yourself home goods. That is why it’s no surprise that IKEA hacks — like a recent Death Star-inspired pendant lamp from David Bliss — have become a bona fide design category all on its own that has gained widespread adoption throughout the Maker community.


Nurun founder David Bliss recently modded an IKEA PS 2014 lamp using an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), an Arduino Motor Shield, a linear stepper motor, NeoPixel LEDs, as well as the SmartThings platform to control the lights.

“I replaced the standard wiring with a Cat5 ethernet cable to connect my electronics in that cap to the motor and LEDs in the body of the lamp. Four of the Cat5 wires are used to control the motor and three for the LEDs, leaving one unused wire,” Bliss writes.

The Maker then affixed the motor using a standard mounting plate and a fiberboard bridge attached to the central spine of the lamp. As for driving the motor, Bliss says it was rather simple once locating a shield that could power it properly. For this, he turned to Arduino.

“Given the design of the lamp and the need to work around the motor’s position, I wanted to use the larger 60 LED ring configuration. Unfortunately, the rings could not fit in any one location when the lamp’s arms were both extended and contracted. Luckily, each 60 LED rings is actually made of four 1/4 circle arcs. I ended up using two sets of three arcs in triangular configurations (one triangle facing down and one facing up).”


Bliss then went on to add a 24 LED ring to the top of the lamp to not only enhance its brightness, but to fill some of the shadows casted on the ceiling by the internal LEDs.

The lamp is powered by a pair of 5V supplies. The first is a 2 amp supply used for the [ATmega328 based] Arduino and the motor plugged into the Arduino’s barrel jack, while the second is a 10 amp supply connected to the LEDs.

Surely enough, the lamp can be turned on/off from a standard wall switch, making it an awesome addition to any dorm or bedroom. Interested in hacking a Death Star lamp of your own? Head over to the project’s step-by-step breakdown here.