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Maker Festival Projects: Giant NeoPixel VU Meter

July 20, 2017

We had a fair number of blinky projects at Toronto Maker Festival. While the Flying Toasters and the Clap-o-meter were popular,  they didn't have the sheer sale of this, our four metre double VU meter: This is a volume-activated full strip of 240 NeoPixels bopping along to some fine Montreal power-pop from Simon I. Just as well no-one else was about at Elmwood Towers that time of night … Although this is a big, power hungry and not exactly cheap project, the wiring couldn't be simpler: The project is based on Adafruit's LED Ampli-Tie, except with waaay more LEDs. The main components are: NeoPixel Digital RGB LED Strip - Black 60 LED, complete 4m spool Arduino UNO 2-pin JST SM Plug...

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Gift Cards!

July 20, 2017

We are pleased to now offer Gift Cards! You've been asking for them and now we have them in $25, $50, and $100 increments.  Our gift cards make the perfect present for your favourite Maker!  

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BBC micro:bit

July 17, 2017

Once upon a time in a faraway land there was a computer called the BBC Micro. And all the children in that faraway land (including your humble scribe) nominally learned to program on those fabled BBC Micros. And, as they say, all lived happily ever after. Or at least learned how to print rude words on a computer screen while the teacher wasn't looking. The BBC Micro may be consigned to history, but the BBC micro:bit is no fairy tale. It's a tiny microcontroller board developed for UK schools. At its heart is an ARM Cortex-M0 processor with Bluetooth LE, coupled to a motion sensor and electronic compass. It's got a 5*5 array of red LEDs as a display and two buttons...

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Maker Festival Projects: Flying Toaster LED Panel

July 14, 2017

We had a busy time last weekend at Maker Festival, and we'd really like to thank everyone who stopped by to buy something, chat, or just marvel at our blinking lights. One of the big hits of our stand was the Flying Toaster panel. If you're old enough to remember when people would actually buy screensavers for their computers, you'll recognise this iconic bundle of pixels from Berkeley Systems' After Dark screensaver.  If you wish to keep the toaster flying in your home, here's what I used to build the display: 32×32 RGB LED matrix panel RGB Matrix Backpack kit 5 V 2 A Switching Power Supply FTDI Serial TTL-232 USB Cable for programming the backpack. You could also use an Arduino Uno to drive the...

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