Building a Gesture-Controlled LED Lamp with Micro:bit and Arduino

Earlier this year, Manoj Nathwani attended the Chaos Communication Camp that took place near Berlin, Germany. Rather than attend this gigantic hacker camp empty handed, he built an excellent gesture-controlled lamp, controlled by a micro:bit and an Arduino Pro Mini clone.

Lighting is provided by eight NeoPixel Sticks, along with a NeoPixel ring. Daisy chaining these LED units together took a bit of work, especially with the ring sitting on top of everything, but the result was a cohesive lighting setup that could be controlled with a single data line. The micro:bit’s built-in sensing capabilities are used to detect gestures, and data is then passed along to the Pro Mini that drives the LEDs themselves.

Everything is housed in a 3D-printed lamp that is reportedly so awesome that Nathwani voluntarily sent designer brico3d a cash donation use of the design. The rather large lamp did take 20 hours to print properly, but he notes that this “was totally worth it.” As a finishing touch, he ran a USB power cable into the hole of the base, and sealed it up after making sure both boards could still be programmed.

According to Nathwani, “The final product ended up looking awesome! The colors are super bright and vivid and the shell of the lamp really diffuses the NeoPixels perfectly.” If you’re in the mood for more lighting hacks, be sure to check out his 576 Ping Pong ball display that he build for EMF Camp 2016.

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Author: Jeremy S. Cook

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