apa102

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How the rib was run

The communication line makes a stop at the rib’s intersection with the spine. Here is where the occupancy sensors are positioned. The Cat5e cable continues to the end of the rib, where the LED strip begins.

Making your biggest project to date is a tall order, and is bound to come with all sorts of unforeseen problems. This one was a matter of communication.

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It's a tarp! Well, okay, it's a bunch of PVC pipe too.

It’s a tarp!
Well, okay, it’s a bunch of PVC pipe too.

This year’s Burning Man festival looked to be an easy one at first: since most of the new toys I had intended to bring to the playa last year didn’t make it there, I’d be able to take it easy and just show them off this year. I didn’t feel any pressure to build anything grand. That was, until our camp mayor got an email from the coordinator of our village stating that we’d be the centrepiece now that another camp had left, and that for us to get favourable placement we’d need something interactive out front, day and night.

Since we already had a daytime activity for this year (an aerialist rig), plus a till-relatively-late activity (the bar), all we needed was something that would be interactive all night. Thus came about…

The Tripper Trapper.

Designs

The basic concept was explained as such:

Sounds like a perfect time to make the Trippy Trap Tunnel. It sits there all nice and glowy with some dull rainbow chases….until the victim gets to the center. All of a sudden, strobes and a klaxon…..How the hell do you get out? Here, have a drink.

The jury’s still out on this thing making noise, but the rest of the idea stuck immediately. We would build the Trapper as a monkeyhut, and attach LED strip to the inside of the ribs. Since this would best be seen up close (people are meant to wander through it, after all), it would use 1-LED pixels (5V strip). Needless to say, it wasn’t long before I was hard at work, calculating how big and bright we could make it with a materials budget of around $1000…

Okay, so I have some bad news and some good news.

"This case is empty". "What do you mean, empty?" "Empty! The opposite of full!"

At least he got the case.

The bad news is that somewhere between LAX and SFO, the box containing the Blinkenlights prototype and the Glowbek mysteriously disappeared. Despite having my address clearly labelled on the package, it was not found or returned.

The good news is that this gives me all the more reason to step up my game. Glowbek 2.0 won’t be an Arduino and a prototyping board; it will be its own PCB. Blinkenlights 3.0 will be USB-programmable/chargeable and have its own battery. And in the meantime, I had to whip up something for another party, because being a darkwad just doesn’t appeal to me :)

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