Tag Archives: Neopixels

Build your own 3D-printed Halo energy sword


This Halo replica features Bluetooth-controlled NeoPixels.


If you’re a fan of Halo, at some point you’ve probably thought that having an energy sword would be a good idea. For better or worse, you can’t obtain one of these weapons (yet), but the Ruiz Brothers at Adafruit have come up with the next best thing: a 3D-printed replica that uses programmable LED strips to make it glow.

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These strips are controlled by an Adafruit Feather 32U4 Bluefruit LE (ATmega32U4), enabling them to be programmed for excellent effects, like changing colors and powering on the lights in a sort of slow powerup pattern. Since this Feather has Bluetooth capability, the sword can even be controlled with a smartphone with no physical access to the board.

Besides Bluetooth, another neat feature of the Feather is that it has a battery charging circuit built-in. This allows the sword’s 2000mAh lithium-ion battery to be charged without adding any additional hardware. A switch is, however, added to turn the unit off when the owner isn’t busy pretending to pwn noobz with it.

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The blades are printed with transparent PLA, and the sword, including the handle, is made in 20 sections attached together with super glue. Despite its 34-inch blade, it impressively weighs under one pound.

If this all seems a little familiar, you might recall either of the Ruiz brothers’ Daft Punk helmet builds — you can find more info on Thomas’ helmet replica here.

This giant LED thermometer scarf shows the temp outside


With this scarf, you’ll never have to wonder how cold it is when you step outside.


Winter is well underway in some parts of the country, and if you have to head out into the frigid air, you’ll probably want a comfy scarf around your neck. But what about an accessory that not only keeps you warm, but looks and functions as a giant thermometer as well? That’s exactly what Instructables user “caitlinsdad” has created using an Adafruit FLORA (ATmega32U4), humidity and temperature sensor modules to detect the weather conditions, a NeoPixel ring for the bulb, and an LED strip to reveal the temp in both Fahrenheit and Celsius.

This may be the techiest Christmas sweater ever


Be the talk of your next holiday party with this epic sweater.


Got an old, ugly sweater hanging in your closet? Or just an old one in general? Well, now you can breathe new life into the out-of-date garment with the help of a few MCUs and LEDs.

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That’s exactly what UK-based Makerspace fizzPOP along with electronics retailer Maplin has done. The wearable — which they’re calling the “techiest Christmas jumper ever” — is equipped with an Adafruit FLORA (ATmega32U4), an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560), four 8×8 LED matrices, as well a bunch of NeoPixels and NeoPixel Minis. It also features a portable 10,000mAh power bank and a pair of electret microphone amplifiers so it can react to those Yuletide jingles.

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As you can see in the video below, the RGB matrices allow for some pretty cool graphics to come across the front of the sweater, including a tree, snow, a bird and even some text for the ultimate holiday greeting. And who’s to say that it has to stop at Christmas? With a bit of programming, you can transform your boring pullover or turtleneck into an epic New Year or Hanukah outfit.

Want one of your own? You’re in luck because fizzPOP has put together a nice little tutorial video. If you loved this, then you may want to check out Adafruit’s recent NeoPixel Matrix Snowflake Sweatertoo.

This running Christmas tree is spreading holiday cheer in Tokyo


“An Uber for illuminations.” 


A British inventor living in Japan has decided to spread Christmas cheer in a rather unusual way this year. Dressed up as a Christmas tree, complete with flashing lights and decorations, Joseph Tame is turning more than just a couple heads throughout Tokyo’s streets, sidewalks, stores, train stations, and even in the back of its pulled rickshaws.

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The aptly named Running Christmas Tree costume consists of an aluminum frame wrapped with a pair of backpacks, each stuffed with branches from two fake trees. The attention-grabbing getup — which took two months to build — is equipped with 99 batteries, 1,500 LEDs, 100 feet of wiring, nine microcontrollers (a combination of Arduino and Raspberry Pis), three onboard cameras, as well as a built-in library of 153 Christmas songs. From the looks of the video below, he is even wearing some slick Adafruit Firewalker-like kicks.

Tame says he is taking bookings for personal appearances in the suit, which he is billing as an “Uber for illuminations.”

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“The tree is available on-demand via your smartphone using the links below, and from Dec 26th 2015 via our new iOS app. The tree can come to you wherever you are in the world, but please note that depending on your location it may take a bit of time to reach you; with a combined weight of 93kg (68kg of Joseph + 25kg of Tree) it is currently too heavy for delivery by drone, and is not yet available from Amazon Prime due to there only being one of him,” its creator explains.

See the costume in action below!

This DIY BB-8 will have you at beep


Just in time for The Force Awakens, one Maker has built his own 3D-printed, remote-controlled BB-8.


Although we’re just days away from the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it’s safe to say that BB-8 has already become the breakout star of the film. Since first laying eyes on the soccer ball-sized droid in the trailer, it has seemingly captured the hearts of everyone — whether a fan or not.

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Instead of rushing to stores and purchasing a mini BB-8 of their own, several Makers have opted to build their own cute metallic orange ball with a beeping head. Take software engineer Jean-René Bédard, for example. His version is entirely 3D-printed, hand-painted and powered by a simple ATmega328 based, Arduino-compatible robotic platform.

The Maker designed his BB-8 in SketchUp and then spit him out using two Dremel Idea Builder 3D printers — a process that took roughly 50 hours to completed and called for over 650 feet (200 meters) of PLA filament.

Although it may not roll like the one in the Hollywood flick, Bédard’s bot can balance itself on a pair of wheels and be controlled with a basic RF remote. It is equipped with authentic sounds and several Adafruit LEDs to give it the full effect along with its orange and silver nail polish exterior. What’s more, the beeping BB-8’s head moves via a micro servo actuated by the Arduino.

This project will surely awaken your Maker forces. See for yourself below!

 

Clara is a smart lamp that helps you stay focused


Working on a project? Cramming for an exam? This brain-sensing, environment-augmenting lamp uses EEG technology to tell how focused your are and block out distractions. 


We’ve all been there: It’s late at night, you’re cramming for an exam when suddenly you’re interrupted by the simplest thing. How cool would it be to have a desktop accessory that could give you a kick in the right direction and increase your intensity as you try to finish your studying? Thanks to a group of Makers from the School of Visual Arts, that will soon be a reality.

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The brainchild of developers Mejía Cobo, Belen Tenorio, and Josh Sucher, Clara is a brain-sensing lamp that employs EEG technology to tell how focus you are at a task at hand. Embedded with speaker and LEDs, the scene-augmenting device is capable of responding to changes in brainwaves, then reacting to your level of concentration by increasing the ambient music and shifting the light levels.

To bring this idea to fruition, the team used the combination of an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), an MP3 shield, several Adafruit NeoPixels, a SparkFun Bluetooth modem and a Neurosky MindWave Mobile EEG headset to wirelessly measure your “attention” and map the lamp’s color temperature, thereby subtly altering your environment.

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As you begin homing in on a specific idea, the light will become crisper and cooler as the volume of the ambient noise emitted from the speaker slowly rises. This helps to enhance your ninja-like focus and block out other distractions.

“The basic structure of the Arduino code is straightforward. The NeoPixel strip is instantiated, then the Music Maker shield is instantiated, then we take advantage of interrupts to listen for, receive and act on Bluetooth serial data while the music is playing,” its creators reveal. “When the MindWave detects ‘activity’ (a number from 0-100 generated via some proprietary algorithm on the Neurosky chip), we initiate the ‘fade’ of the music and the light.”

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Looking ahead, don’t be too surprised if you see Clara on Kickstarter in the coming months. Plus, the team hints that they may even migrate to an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560) for its next iteration. Until then, check out rather unique project on its page here.

This LED map tracks the MBTA in real-time


Maker uses an Arduino, Raspberry Pi and LEDs to create a real-time map that keeps tabs on Boston’s trains.


Inspired by his love for making and public transit, MIT student Ian Reynolds has built an MBTA map into the wall of his fraternity room to show real-time locations of vehicles using bright LEDs.

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The Maker employed a few meters of NeoPixels, driven by an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) that takes orders from a Python script running on a Raspberry Pi lying on his floor. The color of the LEDs were specially designed to match those of each transit line (e.g. red line, blue line, green line, orange line, etc.). Every 10 to 15 seconds, the system receives data via the MBTA’s API, which in turn, causes the respective lights to flash based on the trains’ approximate GPS location throughout Boston.

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“It maps those to some LEDs, decides which ones actually need to be changed, and then sends that information to the Arduino, which does the bit pushing,” Reynolds explains. “In addition, I’m writing a tiny web app that lets me change visualizations and adjust the brightness for when I need to sleep.”

Intrigued? The Maker has put together an elaborate blog post that breaks down his entire project, from the hardware to the headaches. You can also get a glimpse of it all below!