LED Installation: The Door Wall

Here’s a quick wrap-up post for The Door Wall project, which Jared Boone and I developed in 2013. It’s a permanent installation of 3,810 RGB LEDs:

The Proposal

We learned about this project through Michael Ossman, who saw the HypnoLamp, and introduced us to Danielle and David Hulton, the owners and operators of Ada’s Technical Books in Seattle. They were moving to a new storefront, and adding a partition made of reclaimed doors.

Together, we decided to run 2 parallel strips of WS2811 LED strips (60 LEDs/meter) around the edges of the Door Wall structure.

Continue reading

Rainbow Bike Helmet

The night before World Naked Bike Ride, I added rainbows to my bike helmet:

Source code is here.

The LED strip is the same model used in the HypnoLamp (LPD8806). The difference, of course, is that these animations are as bright and attention-grabbing as possible!

Some people loved it. In dark environments it was probably too bright, and painful to look at. Next time, I’d like to diffuse the light somehow.

Rainbow bike helmet holy heck that's bright

Attaching objects to your bicycle helmet is unwise, because it may get snagged in the event of an accident. (I saw plenty of accidents that night. WNBR is a dangerous ride, because many of the participants are inebriated, or inexperienced cyclists.) As a responsible adult, I recommend that you do NOT affix LEDs to your bicycle helmet. … Instead, launch a Kickstarter campaign for translucent helmets with embedded LEDs, and send me the link so I can sponsor it!

The HypnoLamp Goes to Maker Faire

Portland Dorkbot had a booth at the Bay Area Maker Faire this year. Here’s my first proper invention, the HypnoLamp, alongside the Editor’s Choice award that we received:

HypnoLamp + Editor's Choice Award

Many factors helped birth the HypnoLamp: At Toorcamp 2012, I learned to program microcontrollers. Jeff of OlyMEGA blessed me with addressable LED strips, at the aforementioned event. Jeff was also at the Portland Mini Maker Faire, showcasing (among other things) glass Ikea lamps with LEDs inside. I decided to build my own version!

Continue reading

Sculpting Virtual Clay with the Leap

Here’s something fun! @soycamo and I performed at DorkbotPDX’s Open Mic Surgery. She brought the beats, I brought the visuals.

Watch a video of our performance.

I was lucky enough to receive a Leap Motion Controller. It acts like a short-range Kinect for your hands, tracking the position of each individual finger. The Leap’s sensors are fast, and spookily accurate. I love it.

Continue reading

My Midines Review: It Never Arrived

Chris Kann, the owner of wayfar.org, sells a device called the Midines. It’s a Nintendo cartridge that plays the Nintendo Entertainment System like a musical instrument, I kid you not. You insert the Midines cartridge into your NES, plug MIDI cables into the Midines, and off you go, into a world of bloops and blips.

The Midines probably looks like this

I paid $99 for a Midines in the year 2008, and… I have still not received it. I have sent Chris Kann at least a dozen emails, and never received a single reply. In 2008, I did track him down on IRC — he mentioned that he was going through some hard times, but now it is 3 years later, and he has been completely silent.

Continue reading

A Formant Sequencer in Flash

I started an open source project: fseq-flash is a formant sequence editor. Current features include:

  • Import AIFF files
  • Audition and edit formant sequences in real time
  • Vowel- and function-drawing tools
  • Export .syx files for the Yamaha FS1R

Click to launch. Press the space bar to play the sound.

You can push your formant sequence to the Yamaha FS1R, using software such as K_Take’s FS1R Editor. Click the “Save .syx” button, and follow the instructions in K_Take’s documentation. This is a lot of fun, and breathes new life into the FS1R.

This project became much deeper than anticipated! The code includes FFT analysis (thanks Gerry Beauregard), pitch detection, a formant detection algorithm, and an AIFF parser to read AIFF files. The interface was a challenge to design and implement, and there are still many unfinished features.

My energy is shifting to other work, so I’ll enhance fseq-flash when time permits.