Shifty VU Demo Video

Shifty VU Demo from Garrett Mace on Vimeo.

Here's a demo of the new Shifty VU operating. This is no longer feeding Winamp Data into a Cubloc; the audio signal is rectified, filtered, and amplified with an RC decay, then oversampled with an AVR ATmega128 and displayed as a bar graph. Currently no fancy presets, just red and blue, but I have lots of ideas. Fading orange neon, peak detector, variable speed chasers, etc. Feel free to post your own ideas below!  Read more»

Submitted by Garrett on Thu, 05/15/2008 - 23:58.

Shifty VU Tubez

Shifty VU pair

I built these today. Despite appearances, no welding was required. That's all 1/8 inch hardboard and 3/4 inch square hardwood molding, hot glued together. Then I sealed, painted flat black, applied iron-powder paint in various locations, then applied rust agent in multiple layers to get a nice effect. Then I pulled some parts off the TechShop Wall O' Junk and glued them on for extra zing. The tubes contain 10 ShiftBrite modules each, and will be used as left and right VU channels.

Submitted by Garrett on Fri, 05/02/2008 - 01:13.

Maker Faire Project Update: LED Array

LED Array Construction

I've been working on the LED array a few evenings this week, at TechShop. Most of the work is done, at least the part involving woodworking. I still need to drill 384 holes, paint everything white, then build about 75 circuit boards and wire everything up. Should be done in time for the Maker Faire if I get the controller finished this week. Then there's the control software, and web interface, and Winamp plugin, and the other projects....

Submitted by Garrett on Mon, 04/21/2008 - 06:57.

Maker Faire Project Update: Shifty VU

This is the pre-alpha version of one of the VU columns that will be used as an example of ShiftBrite applications at Maker Faire this May. I've only got two LEDs in this one, the brightness corresponding to the current power of the left or right channel. If the power rises above a threshold, some of the green channel is mixed into both LEDs. The audio data is currently fed over a USB-RS232 converter from a custom Winamp plugin I wrote. The actual finished device will be a freestanding tube for the left and right channels, and 10 LEDs in each tube instead of two. There will be several color presets, like "warm neon", "fire", "spectrum", etc. The tube is a fluorescent protector tube from Home Depot lined with galvanized steel mesh from the same store.

Below: a newer version with laser-cut acrylic holder for 10 ShiftBrites, only five are installed right now.   Read more»

Submitted by Garrett on Wed, 04/09/2008 - 22:46.

Maker Faire Project Update: Grow Lamps

Over at Darker Technologies they're making good progress on the Maker Faire projects that we're exhibiting in the same booth this May. The first LED grow lamp array has been built and tested. It uses red and blue LEDs, since those are the wavelengths plants absorb (they reflect green, so no need to waste power emitting that color). He'll be testing the arrays on live plants this month, using other light sources as a control. If you're in the SF Bay Area this May, stop by the Maker Faire in San Mateo and check out all the great projects and exhibits! There's a lot to do! It's fun!

Submitted by Garrett on Fri, 04/04/2008 - 14:59.

Stealth USB CapsLocker

* Source code and Eagle PCB files: CapsLockerPCB& *

Just in time for April Fool's Day! I built a device that has the potential to drive a computer user insane.

This device plugs into a USB port and implements a USB HID keyboard. Instead of doing anything useful, it waits between 30 seconds and 8 minutes and sends the scancode for the Caps Lock key. This will toggle the Caps Lock status on or off. Since the operating system controls the LED on the keyboard, the Caps Lock light also toggles. This makes it appear the user has accidentally pressed the Caps Lock key...until it happens 20 or 30 times and they get suspicious. Then they might see the Caps Lock light turn on by itself. Next is a sequence of reboots, bashing the keyboard on the desk, clicking through the Control Panel, possibly even replacing the keyboard. Unless they notice the tiny little device sitting in one of the USB ports on the back of their computer, nothing will help.  Read more»

Submitted by Garrett on Thu, 04/03/2008 - 16:02.

Maker Faire 2008

Macetech & Darker Technologies Present:
Curiously Bright LED & Audio Extravaganza!

Project: 16x24 RGB LED Array

This project is an array of LEDs, sized to fit an alcove in my apartment living room, about 35 inches wide by 58 inches tall. The LEDs will be RGB, with fullcolor pixels arranged 16 wide by 24 tall. Each pixel will be 2 1/8 inches square. There are a total of 384 pixels, and 1152 individually controlled LEDs. The array will be used to display informational graphics, audio visualizations, and tunable ambient lighting.  Read more»

Submitted by Garrett on Sun, 03/09/2008 - 18:49.

Project: ShiftBrite

ShiftBrites in stock now.

Click here to purchase online. 

ShiftBrite is a simple device I am designing and producing. It allows easy control of a bright RGB LED. The interface is a straightforward clocked serial data line and a latch input. All signals are buffered and passed through for good performance over long cables and daisy chaining many devices. Many ShiftBrite devices can be controlled from any type of controller that supports clocked serial data output, which is practically all microcontrollers and even PC parallel port or FTDI bitbang adapters.

The above images are renders of the revision 1 design. These were created by exporting PCB images from Cadsoft Eagle, and using the images as textures in a Sketchup model.  Read more»

Submitted by Garrett on Sun, 03/09/2008 - 00:50.