In 2012, when I completed my undergraduate degree at Cornell University, I had a last minute idea to put an LED array on my graduation mortar board. The night before graduation I wired up a bunch of LEDs to a protoboard and an Arduino. The resulting product worked well, and garnered all kinds of excited remarks from friends and onlookers. But, it wasn’t bright enough in the outdoor sunlight, and it left me yearning to do something a bit more … intense.
Lucky for me, I stayed at Cornell for a fifth year to get my Masters degree in Electrical Engineering, and I therefore got to graduate again. This time, I was determined to do something over-the-top. Utilizing the super-high-intensity LED circuit board that I had designed for my masters thesis on Hybrid Fiber Optic LED Lighting, I built a web-connected LED graduation cap that would be truly ridiculous. Graduations can be a bit boring, so I wanted to develop an interactive platform (on my head) that others could fiddle with during the ceremonies. And thus, the “Control my Cap” project was born.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.