Make Hack Two: LED love, Power Ups and WTF Builds

Posted on November 13, 2014


Make it better harder faster stronger. Update two on makes and hacks including LED wearables with the wow factor, WTF Builds and energetic Power Ups. There are some incredible maker projects out there on my favourite tech, science and creative websites, but rather than simply repost I thought I’d give a rundown of some of the best.


LED Means I Love You
Dance troupe iLuminate has featured on US national television and in their own off-Broadway show with their incredible LED light suits and dance routines. Makezine caught up with the technical director Dean Hopkins for a video interview. Hopkins is an audio engineer by trade but coordinates all the technical details of the iLuminate production. The LED suits operate on a 2.4Ghz system with software and hardware iLuminate have built themselves. Light wigs, headpieces, glasses and all manner of LED footwear adorn the superb suits developed to last years (“with some basic maintenance” says Hopkins). Check out iLuminate’s 2013 showreel below. There is surely much more to come from this company.

Inspiration for another LED prototype comes from electro hip hop outfit Hypercrush. Greg Sowell devised a LED light suit using an old NES games system power glove. Having seen Hypercrush firing a laser from a glove in one of their videos he was inspired to transform the NES model using a variety of kit including an Arduino Pro Mini, LED light strip and a handful of electronic components. Sowell’s website features a complete guide to how the project was put together along with detailed pictures of the suit build, plus his own video overview (below).

Power Ups
Makezine documents the efforts of Kurt from Kurt’s Arduino Projects who is a bit of a whiz when it comes to energy projects and has put together his own solar power plant. It tracks the sun across the sky and is one serious piece of kit. To make it track sunlight he took an LED torch and replaced the LEDs with photo sensors connected to an Arduino Uno board equipped with an AdaFruit motor shield. A whole bunch of other components and batteries was worked into the design (schematic below) so that 1KWh of energy can be stored. Kurt also has an awesome ‘Scooterputer’ Arduino-powered battery charge indicator built into his little green two-wheeler.



While you’re at it, check out the video of this bad boy: a 20,000 watt power supply built by Photonicinduction, whose excellent Youtube channel is full of all sorts of electrical engineering mayhem, swearing and destruction.


WTF Builds
What happens when a group of students move to the desert with rocket-fuelled dreams of putting together their own propulsion lab? Well the result, apart from a lot of experimental launches, was an Arduino powered rocket data logger only two square inches in size. Contained in the group’s logger (incidentally who call themselves Carbon Origins) are more than 200 components including an accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, GPS, plus temperature, pressure, humidity and light (both UV and IR) sensors. Connectivity comes via Bluetooth LE and WiFi. This power-packed mini rocket board is built using the same chip as the Arduino Due – an ARM Cortex M3 – and has been chosen to be part of the Arduino at Heart product range: products that can be customised by the end-user. By the way, here’s a video of Carbon Origins’ reusable rocket launch.

Ever wondered what turns a robotic beetle on? Finnish craft and tech ubermensch Kati Hyyppa put together this incredible cyber beetle project as part of Berlin’s Coding da Vinci open culture hackathon. It is a robotic Chalcosoma atlas beetle who crawls around rather grumpily muttering to him/herself until it watches music videos on its little portable screen and starts dancing and chirping. Crazy and totally original, this project won the ‘Funniest Hack’ prize, incorporating an original song and music video with help from brother Tomi Hyyppa (one half of Finnish pop duo Villa Nah it seems). Kati runs the excellent eCrafts Collective WordPress blog with a partner and put together the colourful Rapid Robots Workshop with Niklas Ray at the FabLab Berlin. Cyber Beetle is a little bit nuts, as all genius projects are.

Make yourself some ass-kickin’ ale with this incredible BrewPi Arduino and Rasp Pi controlled fermentation chamber. Okay, you need a spare fridge but we all have to make nice for beer – the good news is you can pick up an abandoned unit as long as it can be cleaned up. You’ll need temperature sensors and to use BrewPi’s superb project breakdown to get the compressor on side. Thanks to Hackaday for the update. Check out this ultra-cool professional set-up below for Ones and Zeros brewery using the BrewPi.

BrewPi fermentationchambers_chris_allen


Cool Kickstarts

Get in on the ground floor and help budding makers by funding this portable laser cutter called the ‘Origami’.


‘Tinyscreen’ is a thumbnail-sized full colour OLED display screen that comes with a range of out-of-the-box apps such as a smartwatch, video game and video player app.


Microduino Studio – who launched the first Kickstarter project in September 2013 – has come back with this joypad offering incorporating the Microduino board. Binge on 8-bit goodness with this tribute to the Gameboy.