Tag Archives: Tron

Maker creates a Tron and Star Wars-inspired control panel for his computer

This fully-functional, overhead control panel will be the most awesome thing you see today.

Most of us rely on a keyboard and mouse to perform tasks on our computers. Not Redditor user “smashcuts.” Instead, the Maker has built a fully-functional overhead control panel for his PC, complete with 100 programmable buttons and switches that trigger all kinds of actions, from the useful to the absurd.


As you can imagine, constructing such a complex device was no easy task. To make this a reality, the Maker employed the combination of a USB hub and controllers, LEDs for the backlighting, an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560) for the blinking lights and a HAL unit from Think Geek. These electronics are all housed inside an enclosure made from a metal junction box and laser-etched acrylic panels.


While the project itself was a pretty elaborate endeavor with some serious functionality, it was all done in good humor. There’s a green ‘Main Systems’ section which turns on his most frequently used programs, such as Chrome, Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects and iTunes. Meanwhile, a central unit controls all of his main OS shortcuts like open, save and close.


He’s also included a category that he calls ‘Panic Control,’ with three toggles for stress management. According to smashcuts, ‘Don’t Panic’ cues a hitchhiker’s guide YouTube video, ‘Serenity Now’ cues a Firefly clip, and ‘Hold Steady’ plays songs from his favorite band. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s a ‘Wave Collider’ panel that allows him to activate various iTune playlists and choose ‘More Rock’ or ‘Less Rock’ depending on his mood.


Beyond that, buttons in the bottom left-hand corner type a variety of laughter into open chat windows, including the common ‘HA,’ ‘HAHA,’ or ‘HAHAHA’ for extremely funny moments. There’s even a ‘Weapons System,’ which emits humorous sound effects. Despite some of its comedic features, this was surely an impressive build!

If you’ve ever dreamt of using a Star Wars/Tron-like control panel, you’ll want to check out the Maker’s project in its entirety here.

Tron cosplay with an Arduino

Swap_File has created a slick Tron suit costume that wouldn’t be out of place at Flynn’s, The Grid or the End of Line Club.

According to Swap_File, the motorcycle helmet is equipped with a 20×4 RGB backlight negative screen, along with a serial backpack from a 16×2 and a microphone. And the disc? Made of black and frosted laser-cut acrylic.

“Neodymium magnets hold it to the holster on my back, which is bolted through my leather jacket and through a backpack. I left the bottom two magnets out of the holster to aid in removal,” Swap_File explained in an Adafruit forum post. “The disc contains an [Atmel-powered] Arduino Nano, Wixel, ADXL345 accelerometer, TCS230 color sensor, 1450mAh 3S Turnigy LiPo, 16 outward facing LPD8806 RGB LEDs and a 5v switching regulator.”

Meanwhile, the Tron jacket boasts 80 LPD8806 LEDs mounted onto checkout store pricing strip – all sticking to the leather with 3M 969 adhesive transfer tape. Audio from the helmet runs through two op amps and a msgeq7, with the analog sections operating on their own 3.3v regulator to reduce noise.

User input? Via the Disc, another Wixel and Wireless Wii Nunchuk. As an added bonus, the jacket can be neatly paired with a smarphone via a JY-MCU-HC-06 Bluetooth Radio.

“A Python script on my phone allows incoming text messages to change the helmet display and my colors. It also replies with a status message with basic statistics,” said Swap_File. “Stats are saved to EEPROM once a minute, snapshotted to RAM and written to EEPROM.”

And last, but certainly not least, the suit itself boasts 6 motion based effect modes, two EQ based effect modes and a fully on mode, with 8 output modes and 7 levels of max brightness supported by the open source cosplay.

Pretty cool, eh? You can read more about Swap_File’s open source Tron cosplay here with code, schematic and DXF files available here.