:: spoke n' light ::

overview | sketches | prototype-I | prototype-II | prototype-III

In a way, it would be more appropriate to call this prototype "Prototype I-b", as I intend to use the same hardware and software architecture I used for prototype I. The main purpose is to stretch the current architecture to it's limits, in an attempt to identify more problems before I go back to the drawing table and design Prototype III.

A new generation of software. I rewrote the software to account for the "black spot" and support animations. This includes new versions of the MatLab tools: grid2polar_02.m takes an image strip and creates the required vectors, with possible animation (in case the width of the strip is bigger than it's height); simulate_02.m is the simulation software, taking the vectors generated by grid2polar and simulating the spin of LEDs. In addition, I wrote a new MatLab tool, dumpvector_02.m, that takes the vectors computed by grid2polar and dumps them in a way that's easy to import as a C header file.

The main addition to the new version of the PIC software is that it now supports animations. The animation data itself is found in C header files. Here is love_18_90_50.h -- just a bunch of zeros and ones that will generate a 50-frame animation of the word "Love" running on 18 LEDs with an angular resolution of 90 state (that's a LED state every 4 degrees).

Hardware "upgrade". Software programmers often refer to badly written code as "spaghetti". The nice thing about hardware design is that if you do it wrong, it ends up looking like real spaghetti (see pictures below). In the new version of the RLD hardware I hooked up 12 additional LEDs through two more transistor arrays -- giving me a total of 30 LEDs controlled by one PIC through five hex transistor arrays. Thinking of it, I managed to squeeze over 80 wires, 32 LEDs, 32 resistors, five transistor arrays, a PIC, a power regulator, a battery and a few other components into a very tiny space. I should really open a pasta restaurant (or redesign the hardware).

Cheesy but effective. I tested two sets of animations on the new set of software and hardware. Results were pretty good... She said "yes" :-)

Continue to Prototype III >>