DIY LED Brake Lights for Bicycle Handlebars


I read these DIY posts about hacking every day stuff and sometimes I wonder why no one thought of this sooner!

Instructables user WyoJustin has posted an article about making a set of LED brake lights for the ends of the handlebars on a bicycle.  It’s a fairly simple project using an arduino microcontroller and a 3-axis accelerometer.  Clever!  Check out the full Instructable here.

Thanks Make!

A Larson Scanner Project – I Almost Forgot Halloween Was Here!

Would you believe I got to sleep in today?  Also, WHY was I not told that HALLOWEEN is already here?!  I have to come up with yet another tasteless costume commentary on life, news, and celebrity deaths!

Oh, the tasteless fun…


But nonetheless JUST as exciting, HALLOWEEN LIGHTING PROJECT TIME!  How many times of year do geeks and nerds like us get to add the element of light to the inside of a pumpkin?  Not enough, says this observer.  I got news of a cool post at one of my favorite DIY blogs, Evil Mad Scientist Labs, who has created the Larson Scanner Kit for your pumpkins and everything else you need a series of scanning red LEDs to make better.  Glen A. Larson was the guy who invented the red scanning LED idea for the Knight Rider and Battlestar Galactica series – properties master indeed!

Evil Mad Scientist Labs makes use of the ATtiny2313 microcontroller chip for power efficiency, and has improved upon their original design for a Larson Scanner kit.  Nice work, fellas!


All photos from oskay’s photostream on Flickr.

Turn Your Ceiling Fan into A Low Res LED Display

ceiling fan LED

Instructables user UncleBone posted one of the coolest Instructables I’ve read on that site – making an LED ceiling fan display! He remade the blades, added some homemade circuit boards, and created the image mapping himself.  Good sir, I commend you!

Check out a very quick video of his final project – the frame rate’s off and makes the product look a bit choppy, but you get the idea.  Also, check out the Instructable here!




Thanks for the heads up, Make!

Crazy Six-Armed DIY Ikea Hack Lamp

ikea hack lamp

I just saw a wacky sci-fi robot-esque six-armed light monster of a lamp at the Apartment Therapy Unplugged blog – the creator used an Ikea Blanda metal bowl, six Tertial arm desk lamps, some wiring harnesses and some rigging, and made a big room light.  I read some of the comments on this project, and the general consensus was “blech!  this thing is a monstrosity!”  I have to disagree.  If “steampunk” can be popular, then there is certainly a large percentage of the population who would love this project.

My wife and I have hacked Ikea furniture to fit our needs – I highly recommend it!  Props to the creator of this project, I think it is extremely cool.

ikea hack lamp

ikea hack lamp

Alex Beim’s Bottle Wall

I’m loving these small resolution, large format LED display projects.  I keep finding them in the form of coffee tables.  This one, by Vimeo user Alex Beim, is a plastic bottle display:

An illuminated bottle wall. There is a LED controllable light behind each bottle that is controlled from an on board computer.  11 x 23 = 253 bottles in total create this mobile wall that will be taken to festivals this summer across Canada.   Something missing in the video is that the cavities for the bottles are empty at the beginning and people start filling them with empty containers to reveal the visuals.  Everything started when Tom (the client) said I want to make a light bright with bottles for Bacardi Breezer, is that possible?

Anything is possible, Alex.  Anything.  I’d like to see a bottle wall for empties of Woodford Reserve bourbon. Nom.

Bottle wall (no sound) from Alex Beim on Vimeo.

Fry’s Sells Solar Panels? Sweet!

I was in Fry’s today (ah, to be back in Dallas…) buying a graphics card for my wife’s computer, and all of the sudden I pass by these large boxes of solar panels.  Solar panels!  At Fry’s?  That is absolutely fantastic.  If there is anyone around the DFW Metroplex who would carry them, I would figure it would be Fry’s.

They had some 40w, 60, 70, and 80w models – between around 2X4 and a larger one (the 80w model) that looked to be around 2X6.  Also, a 400w wind power generator!

I snapped a few iPhone pics.  This might not be terribly exciting to you, but if you’re in reach of a Fry’s, you could have a solar panel (or five!) for home use.

frys solar

frys solar

frys solar

frys solar

frys solar

frys solar

frys solar

DIY LED Table Ikea Hack

An Ikea hack, now with arduino!

I read about this hack on the Apartment Therapy Unplugged website – it’s an Ikea Granas table with 81 ShiftBrite RGB LED modules under the glass in a matrix.  An arduino chip controls the LEDs and outputs a hue-saturation-value and RGB sine wave.  The project as a whole costs about $350, but what a project!

Here’s the original article – the parts links are above.

RGB LED table

RGB LED table

ikea granas


Styro Light – Apple’s Packaging Put to A Second Use

Eric Lawrence won a Sustainable Award from Design Within Reach Austin’s M+D+F competition recently for the Styro Light – his fixture that was created using the styrofoam packaging corners from Apple laptops.  I think this is a well-exhibited design – the frame is aluminum, and there are 16 5W dimmable compact fluorescents illuminating the space.

Check out a few picures of this work – great job, Eric!




Thanks, Unplugged!

An Interesting CFL Project – More Like CFLED

Make Mag had an article about a Make-er that created an LED lamp from a used “CFL ballast case.”  There are several reasons why I(‘m probably not going to recommend that you try this project – it’s not well protected from zapping yourself on mains voltage, you could contaminate your space with Mercury, you could slice yourself with a knife whi.e you’re cutting the top off of the old CFL, and breadboardds aren’t supposed to be used like that.

All that being said, this is an interesting project.  Check out the creator’s website.




Slow Lighting: Go Build Stuff Out of Junk!


Cool!  I’m not so hip on calling it “green,” per se, but Tinker.It is having a lamp-building-from-junk fest in their London office on April 18.  It’s only 30 pounds for lunch and materials – which is only 30 pounds for UK folks, but $12,343.37 for people in the United States.

Boy I certainly do love that exchange rate joke, don’t I?  Yikes.

About the event:

A one day event where you’re invited to make a lamp out of random stuff we’ll have collected at local stores, charity shops, etc. Bring your own materials, bulbs, old lamps, Arduinos, etc. This is a making day, not a teaching day, so team up with some people with skills, and come and make something fantastic. We’ll pick out the best work and take it with us to Milan on the following week. It will be exhibited as part of’s presence at the Milan Furniture Fair as part of the Green Art Festival.

Any UK readers going?  I’d love to know how it went!