I’ve always fancied the idea of taking part in a Hackathon, but I never seem to be in the right place at the right time. This morning I’m heading from Glasgow to London on the Virgin Pendolino – a trip that takes 4hrs 32mins.
I was prepared in advance for this meeting (a rare event) so I decided to throw an Arduino and a few components in my laptop bag just in case inspiration for a project struck on the journey.
A tube of Pringles at the station gave me an idea: build a simple game, controlled by a single rotary encoder using the Adafruit Neopixel ring I had in my bag. Without any tools I knew it would be a real ghetto hack, but that made it all the more fun.
Round and round and round they go! 16 ultra bright smart LED NeoPixels are arranged in a circle with 1.75″ (44.5mm) outer diameter. The rings are ‘chainable’ – connect the output pin of one to the input pin of another. Use only one microcontroller pin to control as many as you can chain together! Each LED is addressable as the driver chip is inside the LED. Each one has ~18mA constant current drive so the color will be very consistent even if the voltage varies, and no external choke resistors are required making the design slim. Power the whole thing with 5VDC (4-7V works) and you’re ready to rock.
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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.