a TiM Moodlight

dscn1798_26318788455_oA couple of weeks ago, I noticed a pair of old, first version TiM boards lying around at my local maker space, Maker’s Asylum and decided to put them to use by building a MoodLight. We love crazy names at WyoLum, and TiM is “The Intelligent Matrix”. We even tried building a controller for it called TiNA but it didn’t work out :)

dscn1788_26252600171_oTiM (The intelligent Matrix) is an array of 8×16 individually addressable 5050-WS2811 RGB “smart” pixels.  It is essentially 8 rows of 16 LED’s but with a very flexible connection scheme that allows you to control the whole array (128 LEDs) with a single pin or up to 10 boards (1280 pixels) chained together using 8 input pins. TiM boards can be linked together to create larger matrices. Stacking can be done in the vertical and horizontal orientations, and the pitch between individual LEDs is maintained when boards are stacked. Here’s the TiM User Guide.

dscn1793_26226395382_oI had two boards on hand, which I joined together to form a 16×16 matrix of 256 LEDs. TiM boards need an external controller, and I used an Arduino Clone that I designed for use at the Maker’s Asylum called MAPone (Maker’s Asylum Project #1). MoodLights require some form of user interaction, and I decided to use one push button (digital input) and one potentiometer (analog input). The whole thing is powered by a 5V wall wart.

dscn1799_26292824886_oFor the software, I tried some code I found on the web, but none of it did what I wanted – change modes by pressing the button, and change colors using the potentiometer. I can’t code if my life depended on it, so I chucked the problem at my go-to guys – Justin and Kevin. Justin is quick, like the Energizer bunny, and threw back code at me on the rebound. But it required using four potentiometer’s to control the colors. Since the HW was already wired up, I waited to see Kevin came up with something different, which he did. Nice code which allowed different modes to be selected by a button press. The first mode is the standard Rainbow colors from Adafruit’s StrandTest. Then, there’s a color changing mode, Breathing LEDs, Connection Machine (which looks something like Conway’s Game of Life), and finally a scrolling Text mode. This is enough to start with, and I’m sure if anyone at the Asylum wants to hack and dig in to the code, there’s a lot for them to play around with.

dscn1805_26363162042_oI designed the enclosure in OpenOffice Draw. A laser cut piece of MDF that wraps around the TiM PCB using some “living hinge” bends. I tried some junked 3mm MDF first, but the material was kinda bad – some parts cut well, while other areas were left with a charred and burnt top layer, so I had to scrap that. Next, I tried 5mm MDF that way lying around, and while it cut well, it was a tad thicker than I preferred and the hinges were stiffer being designed for thinner 3mm MDF. Anyhow, it worked and I was keen on just finishing this off. I also cut an additional square piece of 2mm white polypropylene sheet for the front diffuser. Most of the electronics was stuck in place using generous globs of hot glue. I added some hand drawn graphics to wrap it off, and left it at the asylum. Let’s see how they mount it up.

Here’s a video walk through of the MoodLight.


EDIT : Here’s a better walk through of the code by Kevin Osborn

MoodLight for TiM (The Intelligent Matrix)

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Introducing VeloKey, the keyboard for your bike.

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Let’s face it, indoor training kinda sucks.  But our friends at Zwift.com have made it suck a lot less.  Actually they made it kinda fun.  Zwift allows you to ride with real friends and cyber friends in a virtual world.  You interact with the environment with (besides your bike) a keyboard, a mouse and a phone app.  It is great as is, but we’ve come up with a more intuitive interface we call VeloKey.

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VeloKey is a Bluetooth interface to Zwift that consists of two a 1.8 inch dis,play thumbwheels, and a power up button.

VeloKey’s main screen allows you to navigate the Zwift world, and control the camera angles with ease.

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Double-click the right scrollwheel to kick into Etch-a-mouse mode: left thumbwheel controls left-right mouse motions and the right thumbwheel controls the up-down mouse movement.  Pressing either thumbwheel acts as a mouse button.  Press both button’s in succession to get a double click on the connected computer.

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Double click the left scrollwheel to activate the keyboard mode complete with caps, lowercase, letters and numbers, and don’t forget backspace.

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VeloKey make riding indoors even more fun!

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VeloKey is an Open Hardware project.  Download source files here.

WyoManiacal Display, no good can come of this!

Maniacal Labs has teamed up with WyoLum to make something amazing.

They’ve taken 24 TiM boards and assembled them into a 64×48 array of RGB addressable LED awesomeness with a refresh rate of 60 frames a second.

See the gallery below, sure, but don’t miss the opprotunity to see it in person March 13 at the NoVa Mini Maker Faire!

 

 

 

Voice Page Down

Voice Page Down

I asked my friend Steve, when he injured his spine, what would make his life easier.  He didn’t have to think about it.  The biggest thing he missed was the simple act of reading a book.  It gives me great pleasure to make his recovery more bearable in this small way.

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The first solution was a simple blue button that send the ASCII code for “Right Arrow” over bluetooth.  We called the project “Page Down”.  He was able to press the button with his forearm and was finally able to read books on his Kindle.  YAY! But occasionally the button would be held too long and cause multiple pages to turn.  With no back arrow, this was a major nuisance.

We also got Steve an Amazon Echo that he got to test the same day as “Page Down”.  The Echo responded well to Steve’s voice commands which allowed him to tune in pod-casts, and listen to music and radio.  That gave me the idea for a voice actived page turner.  Thus Voice Page Down (VPD) was born.

We live in a magical time.  VPD would have been a huge undertaking 10 or even 5 years ago.  Today, it is practially a drag and a drop.  The bulk of VPD is an Arduino Shield stack: AlaMode for the micro-controller, EasyVR for the voice recognition, Power Boost Shield for power management, and finally the Bluefruit EZ-key for the Bluetooth communication.  The whole project took a week of spare time including the enclosure.  Now it is ready to share.

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If you are still reading, you might be interested to pick up on some more details.  The enclosure is assembled with the WyoLum Lada system.  Lada combines 3D printed corners with laser cut faces to make custom enclosures.  An early Lada design included a PCB notch out to hold a PCB like a stand-off.  Since most PCB’s have mounting points, this turned out not to be all that useful.  But in this case, it was just what the doctor ordered.  The AlaMode usually relies on a host raspberry pi for support and only has a single mount point.  The specialized Lada corners worked perfectly, supporting three of the four PCB corners.  Components on the fourth corner disallowed any Lada, so we just left it off.

The other cool thing is the custom speaker mount.  Amazingly, the speaker did not come with any mounting system.   A tiny OpenScad script added a ring to 4 Lada corners and walla *

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Panel mounted buttons and switches would be a nice upgrade.  But perfect is the enemy of good enough, so I just provided access with panel cut outs for the Bluefruit pariing button, power switch, reset, and usb charging port.

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All design files and code are available on github.