May 062013

I was too¬†delirious to post this last night, but I am proud to show off my team’s 2013 Redbull Creation Qualifier “Food for Thoughts”

The “Food for Thoughts” machine is designed to provide kids with the encouragement to learn about math, science and engineering. The machine asks them progressively harder questions, and you loose it all with a wrong answer. Kids who are willing to go for the glory will be handsomely rewarded.

This machine is driven by a combination of a Raspberry Pi, and an Arduino with the Turnbull Entabulator shield. I will be posting more technical details in the upcoming days, so check back.

Feb 262013

For Deconstruction 2013 Our Theme was “Deconstruct a Proposal.” Christina and I have been building all sorts of projects since we met. In fact we met when I was designing my battlebot (tetracide) next to a pool on a summer day, followed by a typical date (Dinner, Home Depot, and a movie). The two of us have been together for many years and so when I decided to propose it only seemed fitting to build something to do it and Deconstruction provided the perfect platform for this to happen.

The build itself, a Large multi-display POV, was a method to allow the same output as a jumbotron display without all of the complexity or cost. The display has a resolution of ~120*270 while only using 360 LEDs (vs the 32400 normally required). The goal was to build this display to display the message “will you marry me,” but the time limitations (48 hours) prevented the full photo and videos to be displayed. Even without the message Christina still accepted my proposal so the project was a complete success. We will be finishing up the code to make the board fully functional in the upcoming days. Additionally I will be during a much more detailed write up of the build if you ever wanted to build something similar in the future.

I want to give a special thanks to everyone at the Dallas Makerspace who helped make this proposal possible. There were 15-20 people who worked around the clock for 48 hours to help me to accomplish my vision and I really appreciate all their hard work and I hope that the journey was as gratifying for them as it was for me.

Technical Information

  • 3 spinners wit 120 LEDs each
  • linked together mechanically with a 3/4 HP DC motor
  • 120 LEDs per spinner each individually addressable using the WS2812 IC on custom designed and fabricated boards.
  • Each spinner features a Teensy 3.0 micro controller, a wireless module, and a sensor to detect the home location.
  • Software written in Ardunio Sketch, using the FastSPI libraries (will be changed to the OctoWS2811 LED Library in the future)
  • Power delivered to the boards through custom designed slip rings.


Deconstruction 2013
Oct 182012

Most machines have a distinct purpose for which they are designed and they are productive. Sometimes it is fund just to build something for the sake of building something. I am sure that most of you have seen the simple Useless machine, a box which turns itself off. Like this one.

This one takes useless machines to a new level of greatness. The WRO art center in Poland has built a machine which mechanically makes the elevator go between the first and second floor by using a series of pulleys.

Check it out for yourself.