LED Glasses: The Journey Continues
Wow! It's been so busy around here, we haven't had time to update the blog recently. Thought we'd update everyone on the LED glasses project. First of all: soon. We want to make sure they're durable and thoroughly awesome, and a lot of other projects and work have been keeping us far too busy while Garrett transitions to full-time at macetech.
Waaaaay back in May 2012, we unveiled the newest macetech product at Maker Faire: LED shades!
We hoped to finish up development and release them within a month or two of Maker Faire, but quickly discovered some issues with the design. The first was an electronic problem that was solved by switching to alternate transistors row drivers and control chips. The next was a more subtle, yet crippling problem. It's easy to design something that sits on a shelf and operates forever, but anything worn by people is subject to a lot of stress. We found that our QFN driver ICs were actually breaking internally due to board flex! Solving that problem has required a lot of revision and testing.
At the moment, we're using much smaller ICs for less impact from board flex, moving them to a stiffer location, and figuring out mechanical methods to reduce stress on the PCB. Some of this is pushing the limits of the board houses we normally use! We have to use 4mil (0.1mm) trace/space rules. This is a WL-CSP part with 0.5mm ball pitch:
In the meantime, a couple pairs have somehow survived the mechanical problems, and we've been taking them around and having a blast! Scratch that...only one working pair at the moment. Soon, though...there will be hundreds. We can't wait to see all the awesome pictures and videos everyone will post as they wear these, customize the code, and hack them with their own electronic parts.
Here's a gallery of a few places the glasses have been, and people who tried them. We think they turn anyone into a rock star!
Super-Awesome Sylvia lights up Hofbrau after MFBA, and we help dazzle Times Square tourists
Submitted by Garrett on Sun, 03/03/2013 - 20:17.