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.
Submitted by Garrett on Sun, 03/03/2013 - 20:17.
SparkFun is doing it again! Tomorrow (January 13th, 2011) they will be giving away $150,000 worth of free electronics hardware to whoever is lucky enough to access their servers during the inevitable Internet stampede on their website. We talked to a couple of their IT people at Maker Faire New York, and they're optimistic about the steps they were planning even four months ago...still, it'll be an amazing accomplishment if their site weathers the storm unaffected.
In any case, we hope that some of you electronics hobbyists out there manage to place your order, and get some cool stuff for your next project. Remember that several macetech products are available at SparkFun: the ShiftBrite, MegaBrite, ShiftBar, and Satellite Module 001. If you snag some of our products during Free Day, feel free to contact us for any help you need getting your LED product blinking and glowing.
Additionally, we will be running a special deal on our own site! We aren't big enough to give away lots of stuff, but we can help complete your project by giving away some free accessories. So here's the deal:
Starts: 12:00am Pacific time (midnight) Thursday, January 13th
Submitted by Garrett on Wed, 01/12/2011 - 16:01.
We've been busy developing new products and dealing with a few supply problems, so it's been a while since the last project roundup post. There have been almost too many to list, though we will get to them eventually. For now, here are two high-profile lighting projects that have involved our technology.
OK GO Sparkle SuitsThe always popular band OK GO recently released another video that is becoming an internet sensation; about 125,000 view on YouTube since it was posted five days ago. The band led a street parade through Los Angeles, using a GPS app to spell OK GO using their route. The parade started in daylight and continued into the night, and members of the parade were encouraged to decorate their clothing and instruments with anything that would light up.
Submitted by Garrett on Fri, 12/17/2010 - 01:34.
It was recently brought to our attention that the current production batch of OctoBrite DEFILIPPI was manufactured with a faulty component. The 78L05 "regulator" (circled below) is NOT behaving like a regulator and will in fact allow overvoltage into the TLC5947 chip, causing failure. We had not received any word of OctoBrite DEFILIPPI failing until now, we think due to the fact that most OctoBrite users have been primarily testing with lower LED voltages. OctoBrites manufactured before June (with regulator oriented the opposite direction) are not affected by this issue.
We are not sure what this part actually is, but we believe it is mismarked or counterfeit. It seems hard to believe that someone would counterfeit such a cheap part, but there's no other explanation that makes sense; our assembler arrived at the same conclusion.
If you currently own one of these devices, please stop using the device if it hasn't been damaged yet. The regulator must be replaced with a working 78L05 SOT-223 regulator immediately. There are three options: Read more»
Submitted by Garrett on Mon, 11/08/2010 - 23:18.
It's been a while since I did this! Our awesome customers keep posting videos and sending us links to their projects using macetech products. If you made something cool with ShiftBrites or other macetech products, by all means let us know! We'll be tweeting links to new projects we discover, and occasionally make a roundup post like this. Later on we'll make a gallery page for easy navigation to all the cool project examples out there.
Centipede + EthernetFirst up, our customer Hartmut in Germany put together an Arduino, Ethernet Shield, and Centipede Shield. He developed a straightforward web interface that's served up by the Ethernet Shield, and allows monitoring 32 digital inputs and controlling 32 digital outputs over the web! Right now it's just a proof-of-concept, but can be easily repurposed for home automation, remote machinery monitoring and control, or any number of web-driven applications that need to talk to the real world. Hartmut's provided lots of details and source code; most of the article is in German but survives pretty well through Google Translate. Read more»
Submitted by Garrett on Tue, 10/26/2010 - 00:02.
It's been two weeks since the World Maker Faire in New York City, but I did want to write up our pilgrimage sometime. A lot of our work happens on the weekend, so the article's been delayed while we catch up.
Jason and I were pretty excited to hear about the new Maker Faire debut in New York. Many of the well-known makers and hackers are located on the east coast, so a New York Maker Faire seems like a smart move. The World's Fair grounds are a perfect venue...San Mateo is pretty nice, but the architecture is nonexistent and there isn't a real rocket looming in the background. Okay, there was a rocket there last year, but it mainly goes to Burning Man, not outer space.
We hunted for tickets and landed an awesome deal. Initially Virgin America wanted $860 but a couple days later it was down to $475. Chase somehow read our minds and sent a coupon for a 20% discount on Virgin America if we used the company card. So we got two round trip, nonstop tickets for about $400.
The next order of business was to find something cool to bring to the Faire. We were not going to run a booth, so it had to be something small. Wearable electronics! I installed LEDs on our lab coats.
Submitted by Garrett on Sun, 10/10/2010 - 22:13.
Syyn Labs, a group of artists and engineers known for their large scale interactive sculptures and art installations (including OK GO's music video for "This Too Shall Pass"), participated in the Santa Monica GLOW festival on September 25th, 2010. Their project for GLOW was called the DNA Sequencer and included 512 RGB LEDs arranged in a double helix within a 100-foot-long trellis.
Submitted by Garrett on Mon, 10/04/2010 - 01:13.
Over the past few years, a lot of small electronics hardware businesses have been starting up. Many of the more successful businesses and projects have adopted "open-source" philosophy into some or all of their products. Open-source concepts have been in existence for a long time...it's human nature to share information and explain how we made something. At the same time, there is what appears to be a conflicting desire to keep processes secret in fear of duplication.
The two concepts aren't actually contradictory. When you make and sell something while sharing the recipe, you are dealing in your ability to produce and innovate. A baker can give away a bread recipe while remaining confident in their skill to make the best bread, or come up with even better bread. The idea of keeping this recipe information secret is not a conflict...it marks the point where you are now dealing in intellectual property rather than production skill and innovation. Many companies don't have the ability or desire to build up production skill or innovate fast enough to compete in a market that is working with the same information...so they restrict the information.
Submitted by Garrett on Mon, 09/20/2010 - 00:59.
Our latest project with Tangible Interaction involves decorative programmable lighting for a party scene in the new movie Twilight: Eclipse. Well, actually...it's a pretty old project, started back in September '09 and completed in October. However, we've had to keep most of it under wraps until the movie was released today. Here's a photo from the set, it's been floating around the internet for a few weeks:
Over 100 glowing globes are scattered midair near the walls of a large room. They smoothly cycle through colors and patterns behind major characters during pivotal plot points. Each globe is brightly lit with an individually controlled 30-bit color. The system is controlled with several Arduino microcontrollers receiving DMX commands.
This project nearly overshadows our Olypmic involvement, in terms of worldwide exposure of products we have developed. Unlike the Zygote project we helped Tangible Interaction build for the 2010 Olympic closing ceremony, these globes use macetech products that are available in our store for purchase.
Submitted by Garrett on Tue, 06/29/2010 - 21:34.
Just a notice to anyone who purchased a Shifty VU Shield in the past few weeks or at Maker Faire: our supplier mixed up some diodes and it's very possible your shield will not work. If you're seeing no response on analog 2 and 3, this is probably why. Please contact us so we can determine if you have a faulty shield, we will repair any with incorrect diodes.
Submitted by Garrett on Thu, 06/03/2010 - 11:49.