Building a mind-boggling infinity mirror using Adafruit #Neopixels
EETimes has posted this cool project from Designline Editor Max Maxfield.
Hurray! It’s taken a while because I’m easily distracted, but I’ve finally finished building my infinity mirror. (See also Part 1 and Part 2 of this miniseries.)…
As you may recall, an infinity mirror involves a relatively thin enclosure (frame) with a full mirror at the back and a partial mirror (or a half-mirror or one-way mirror) at the front. Following my previous experiments, I decided that the optimal distance between the back mirror and the front mirror for my purposes was 1 inch. With regard to the width and height of my mirror, this was easily determined by the fact that I happened to already have a one-way mirror in my possession — and this mirror was 12″ x 12″ — so everything else was derived from these measurements…
Of course, the thing that really makes an infinity mirror so cool is the little light sources you place on the inside of the frame between the front and back mirrors. For this project, I’d already decided to use NeoPixel Strips from Adafruit; in this case, I’m using the type with 60 tri-colored LEDs per meter:
Now, I could simply have wrapped the NeoPixel strip around the inside of the frame and left it at that. However, I intend to experiment with different lighting effects, like having individual LEDs light up in each of the corners and move around the frame in synchronization. This meant that I would need to have the same number of LEDs on each side of the frame. It turned out that I could fit 17 LEDs on each side, with a tiny extra gap in the corners, so I cut four 17-LED pieces off my NeoPixel strip.
Any project like this is a learning experience. If I decide to create another infinity mirror in the future (and I do have some rather cool ideas in this direction) I will do some things differently. For example, I decided to attach my NeoPixel strips to the frame using superglue. When I attached the first strip, I simply stuck it on and weighed it down, as discussed below. Unfortunately, the strip slid around a little on the glue, so it ended up being a tad out of true. This wasn’t really significant, but it’s the look of the thing and my professional pride that’s at stake. If anyone ever opens this up in the future, I want them to say, “Look how perfect this is,” not “Well, that strip is a little skew-whiff, isn’t it?”
Adafruit NeoPixel Digital RGB LED Weatherproof Strip 60 LED -1m: You thought it couldn’t get better than our world-famous 32-LED-per-meter Digital LED strip but we will prove you wrong! You wanted twice the LEDs? We got it (well, its 1.875 times as many but that’s within a margin of error). You wanted thinner strips? Now only 12.5 mm wide, 10 mm if you remove the strip from the casing. You wanted less noticable strip color – this strip has white-colored flex PCB, which will be less visible against white-painted walls. This is the strip with white flex PCB, its identical to the black 60 LED/meter except it has a different color mask on the flex strip.Read more.
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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, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, 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.