Planet Geek!

A man out of society. Lost in his own world.

‘Magic Staff’

Arduino Code for driving the Staff LEDS

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A couple people have asked me to post the code I use in the Staff.  I’ve uploaded it to Github, and I’ll try and keep copies active there. I’ll give you a fair warning, the code ain’t pretty  It works wonderfully, but it was “Hack it until it works, doesn’t crash, and does what I… Read More

The Technomancer at Arisia!

The Technomancer!
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This past weekend I packed up and headed to Arisia to work, play, socialize, and, finally put all the costume elements together and become… THE TECHNOMANCER. This was the final unveiling of the entire costume the magic staff was created to drive. I’d been adding parts and components for weeks, waiting for others to come… Read More

Arduino Nano “Programmer Not Responding” on a Mac

Arduino Nano v3
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For the Staff project, I’m going to be replacing the existing Arduino Uno R3 with a smaller, more easily embedded Arduino Nano.  The Nano is a heck of a lot smaller than the Uno (makes sense – it’s meant to be permanently installed, while the Uno is a prototyping platform).  I received my Nano a… Read More

Video Demo of the Staff

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Several people have asked how the project’s coming along, and I realized that the most recent video only showed a little bit of the functionality.  So I dusted off my iMovie skills and whipped up a little demo (complete with background music!  Aren’t you impressed?).  All the current modes are displayed, though the most recent… Read More

The Arduino Mini 05 is… well, mini!

Arduino Mini 05
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I’m looking to replace the Arduino Uno in the staff with a smaller controller that will fit in the body of the internal tube. The Mini 05 seemed like the best option… well, received it this weekend, and I have to admit, I’m a little daunted. On the one hand, it sure will fit in… Read More

Magic Staff – FAQ and Build Details

Idling staff
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Well I’m back home after taking the staff out for Halloween.  I carried around as part of my costume, costume – greeting people coming to the community for trick or treating, but also to hang out with my neighbors.   A lot of people were asking about the staff – both seeing it in action… Read More

Magic Staff – Takin it out for a spin

Zach and staff
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The day finally arrived! After a marathon work session on Saturday, I was able to take the staff to a party last night! The batteries held up great, the staff was a great hit, and everyone was asking about it and wanting to see what it did. Talk about inspiring! There were naturally some ups… Read More

Magic Staff – Batteries, load, and runtime

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Another few hours of work this weekend saw the Staff cut loose from it’s moorings for the first time. One of the biggest challenges on this project is power.  The LED strips are 55 tricolor (very bright!) LEDs driven by WS2811 controllers.  The strips are powered at 5v.  Doing some quick load testing on the… Read More

Magic Staff Update – First time off-laptop

power and data hookups
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Well, the magic staff project has reached a pretty awesome milestone. Last night was the first time I had the entire assembly operating off-computer.  The Arduino Uno had been running directly via USB cable from my mac.  That provided power and an easy way to upload code.  With my new bench power supply, I had… Read More

Magic Staff – Power up!

2013-08-04 20.30.35
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Of course, I HAD to see what the LEDs looked like all powered up.  Only half of them are mounted here, and the cabling harness is… well, not what I would call top notch engineering… but this is a fully animated display right now, slowly cycling through the spectrum. DAYAM these things are bright.