DIY glowing lamp with shifting colors (Arduino-based and interactive)

This post is not really about multibody dynamics. Instead of simulating stuff, I’ve actually built something: A glowing, more-or-less-interactive lamp.

We are awaiting our first child and with all the things we bought (mostly used), there was a small, adorable lamp. Unfortunately, it had some weird-looking electrics inside (both looking very old and labeled for 120V – so it wouldn’t work with our 230V here in Germany), so we decided to remove all cables and replace them with LEDs. Actually, WE just decided not to use the existing cables and then I talked my wife into letting me build something with an Arduino.

So I hooked up the lamp with a digital LED-stripe – I found one that came with digitally-adressable LEDs and used the Adafruit Neopixel library to adress those. Now there are 24 RGB-LEDs inside the lamp which I can control direct with the Arduino.

Currently, I’ve only programmed a soft glowing mode that slowly cycles between different colors, but it turns out to be very easy to tune the visuals by just uploading other programs to the Arduino. So I might consider adding sound support… it would be so cool to have the lamp respond to clapping or even to the sounds from our baby.

lampe_farbwechsel.jpgThe lamp cycling through different colors. The colors start to fade in at the bottom border and then slowly move towards the upper part of the lamp (no, you can’t really see that part in the photos).

And since I had some LED stripe left (I ordered 5m but had more than 4m left over after I did the lamp) I also built a 6×7 pixel screen (30x70cm). I saw an even cooler one a year ago at a hacker convention, but I still look forward to implementing simple games like snake or pong on this one…

The lamp with the glowing mode (colors move from bottom to top row). Image on bottom right: The 6×7 pixel screen we’ve built from the remaining LED stripe. My wife requested a glowing heart as a proof-of-concept / hello world image.

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