Twinned Wireless Light Cubes

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Two Boxes: Sample illumination effect.WiFi-linked Interactive Boxes: Prototypes.
A pair of responsive light objects. Rotating one cube causes matching light effects in it's twin.

Prototype development phase. May through August 2009. Establishing the technical parameters, programming, and a preliminary cube design.

Partially open box showing LEDs with silvered mylar reflectors.Partially open box showing LEDs with silvered mylar reflectors.

What's inside...

Wireless Arduinos with LEDs - prototype phaseWireless Arduinos with LEDs - prototype phase: Two Arduino 328 boards with Async Labs WiShields (802.11b module with TCP/IP), plus piggybacked proto boards carrying a Texas Instruments 5940 LED driver and a Analog Devices ADXL 335 acccelerometer for rotation detection.

Detail of sensor and wifi board.Detail of sensor and wifi board. Next phase: Using a custom circuit board with an Arduino pro-mini and a TLC 5947.

ADXL 335 accelerometer on the protoboard.ADXL 335 accelerometer on the protoboard. Temporary wiring.

These are installed inside a pair of acrylic cubes illuminated on all 6 sides. Illumination effects change in response to a user rotating the cube. Light within the cube's twin also changes in response. Cubes communicate over a wireless TCP/IP connection. This first version uses the adhoc network mode. Future versions should be able to communicate anywhere a wireless internet connection is available on the planet.

First mockup for confirming size of the circuit enclosure.: Lid (left) will have the battery pack attached. Goal is to have the assembly fit perfectly inside the cube. Cross-pieces help center the unit.First mockup for confirming size of the circuit enclosure.: Lid (left) will have the battery pack attached. Cross-pieces help center the unit.
Mockup of a cube interior with lighting testMockup of a cube interior with lighting test: Challenge is fitting the Arduino, shield, proto board, and battery pack inside the acrylic cube, securely enough to permit user to handle the cube, while still leaving room for LEDs to illuminate each side.

 

"Power Supply": Pair of AA batteries (wired in parallel for additional life). Adafruit "minty-boost" used to jump voltage to 5v."Power Supply": Pair of AA batteries (wired in parallel for additional life). Adafruit "minty-boost" used to jump voltage to 5v. This really should be using a rechargable L-ion pack instead of disposables.

 

Custom arcylic housing.: Contains the board, shields, sensor, and batteries. LEDs also mount on this.Custom arcylic housing.: Contains the board, shields, sensor, and batteries. LEDs also mount on this.

 

Another view of the inner housing.Another view of the inner housing.

 

Circuit enclosure ready to fit inside the 4-inch acrylic cubeCircuit enclosure ready to fit inside the 4-inch acrylic cube. Remaining LED's will be attached to the lid.

 

Open box showing vellum and silvered mylar.Open box showing vellum and silvered mylar, wrapping the circuit enclosure.

 

PM with his almost-completed summer project.A sigh of relief as the ADHOC network is running at last.

Huge thanks to the Async Labs team and their forum members, as we worked through the rollout of this very promising hardware-software package this summer.

Longer-term goals: Developing front-end software so a novice user can configure a unit to their particular wifi network settings. Creating other cube and box designs and more intricate lighting patterns.


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