Next time you visit NYC Resistor, you might notice a new LED clock above the laser room door. It’s built with a surplus AMD1026 one-line LED display that has been re-brained with a SparkCore. Eventually we might take advantage of it being online to interface with the laser reservation system. For more details on interfacing with the hardware and the source code, check out trmm.net/SparkSign.
Every now and then, a particularly hard storm hits an undisclosed datacenter in Virginia where a huge chunk of The Cloud faces off with actual clouds to see which one can keep electricity running through it the longest. Sometimes the data center loses, causing DevOps teams and assorted other developers to get calls and tweets from literally everyone telling them their site is down.
Usually this sort of apocalypse is indicated with a tiny icon on a web dashboard, visible only to the people already panicking and frantically reading up on High Availability and Multi-AZ Deployments. A little red icon doesn’t quite convey the gravity of the sky falling, so I figured the best indicator of cloud infrastructure status would be the Buddhist king and judge of hell, Emma-O (aka Enma-O aka Yama). I happened to have a scan of an Emma-O wood sculpture from a previous project at the museum I work at (btw we’re hiring), so I scaled it up a bit and printed a copy in transparent blue-ish PLA. Continue reading »
Solder:Time Desk Clock
The Spikenzie Labs Solder:Time Desk Clock is a fun through-hole kit to solder together. It includes a snap-together lasercut acrylic case with a really nice red tinted screen that increases the contrast on the 20×7 red LED matrix. Plus it is totally hackable with quite a few unused pins available for expansion (like Holly’s sunrise alarm clock).
The kit is available from Adafruit and I’ve written more information on information on programming custom firmware for the Arduino-compatible ATmega328P that is the brains of the clock.
Heart Rate Running Jacket
If you’ve ever been running at night in New York City, you know that it can be dangerous, especially if other people can’t see you. This jacket was my attempt to not get flattened by a bicycle at night. Of course, I could have just bought some plain running lights, but what fun is that? Not only does this jacket have seven awesome flashy modes, but each mode responds to my heart rate!
Since my Garmin heart rate monitor uses the ANT protocol, I could easily intercept the heart rate information for my jacket. I used a Teensy and an ANT transceiver to control two LED strips based on the current mode selection and the current heart rate. The jacket is powered by rechargeable battery packs.
My first run with the jacket was the 2013 New Year’s Eve midnight run in Central Park. Since then, I’ve worn it to a few races and even to a tech talk. The full build out details can be found here.
Adafruit FLORA and Neopixel class
Next weekend at NYC Resistor we are teaching a class on the Adafruit FLORA and Neopixel. These round Arduino compatible controller boards are a great base for wearable projects like watches, jackets and neck ties, as well as holiday decorations. Bring your laptop and we’ll teach you to make the LED ring blink with patterns of your own design. No prior programming required. The class fee includes a FLORA board, batteries, cabling, 4 RGB LED pixels and a 16 RGB LED ring.