Throughout that semester I kept nagging my curly-haired Salvadorean roommate Roberto Melendez to help me make an LED matrix. He's a meche but (unlike most meche's) he knows a lot about electrical engineering. The Sunday after the first week of classes I was really bored (I didn't want to start my homework) so I (once again) asked him to help me make an LED matrix. He must have been having a bad day because he yelled at me, "just do it yourself!" So I did. Thanks Roberto!
To bypass this problem I took advantage of the persistence of vision phenomenon. I used an arduino to light up one row at a time very quickly. It "waves" through the five columns so quickly that the human eye can't notice it and it appears to be one 5x5 image.
I'll probably write a post about Science Extravaganza later on, but the point of this was that I had one week left before I got my laser-cutter access taken away, so I HAD to taken advantage of this and laser cut something cool. I had also recently learned about t-bolt slots and how useful they are. Both Charles and Candace used them in their 2.007 robot designs, so I thought this would be a good use of the laser cutter.
First, I designed the LED matrix frame in solidWorks. I made the top have 64 holes that have diameters that are 1mm less than the LEDs' diameters. One of the sides have two holes so I can connect the arduino to my computer and/or a power supply without unscrewing the hole frame. I was going to add a mount and some holes to screw the arduino on the frame but my laser cutter access could be taken away any day so I decided not to.
matrix displaying TDCNow that I had a working prototype I wanted to build something better. Mainly bigger and prettier. So the week before Science Extravaganza, a statewide educational outreach event that MAES hosts here at MIT, I decided to make a new LED matrix. The architecture lab had given the MAES exec-board temporary access to their laser cutters so that we could laser cut 200 "Aurora Domealis" for the middle-school students coming to Science Extavaganza. Credit for this LED boxes goes to Adrian Tanner; I made very minor changes to his design and added the eagle on the front.
|laser cutted frame|
|LED matrix soldered, time to start coding|
|Working on the matrix while drinking on the second deck of TDC|
Hi Haley :)