Prop: Sign “Rund” for the larp Do Androids Dream?

IMG_20170204_023729IMG_20170204_023728
For the larp Do Androids Dream we needed a lot of small props to give a Blade Runner feeling of the scene.
Small lit up signs would give that Hong Kong look that is so common in Blade Runner. Carl Nordblom, the set designer, had some ideas about how the sign should look, and had found some sample pictures.

IMG_20170204_023730IMG_20170204_023756
From the sample pictures I got an idea of how to produce a design. And from that idea I started to make a CAD-design.
The finished design ended up being almost exactly like the CAD-design.
Here is the Drawing of the Round Sign (Do Androids Dream).pdf

IMG_20170204_023731
IMG_20170204_023732IMG_20170204_023733
Small wooden block for holding a aluminium plate in a slot.

IMG_20170204_023735
IMG_20170204_023736IMG_20170204_023737IMG_20170204_023738IMG_20170204_023739IMG_20170204_023740
IMG_20170204_023742
The wooden blocks attached on to a sheet of flexible PET plastic.
The sheet is bent around the round aluminum plate with the help of the slots.

IMG_20170204_023743
The PET ring is transparent with a blue tint which would not be fitting in a light fixture. So we painted the PET ring in black to make it opaque.

IMG_20170204_023744IMG_20170204_023745IMG_20170204_023746IMG_20170204_023747
Warm white 5050 LED strip was glued on to the aluminium plate.
9×6 strips with 54 LED’s on each side makes 108 LED’s in total
108 * 20mA = 2.16A
2.16A * 12V = 26W

IMG_20170204_023749
IMG_20170204_023748IMG_20170204_023750IMG_20170204_023751
The LED strips is driven by 12V that comes in from JST-connector.
But the sign is supposed to look like an old florescent light, so to give that look the light should look like it flicker occasionally.
I hooked up an N-channel MOSFET IRLML6344 and connected it to a Arduino Nano for timing the random flickering.

IMG_20170204_023752
A big steel angle attached to the heavy aluminium plate of the sign, this is used for screwing the signs to a wall. Also the JST power connector, hidden in black heat shrink tubing.

IMG_20170204_023755
IMG_20170204_023753IMG_20170204_023754
In the outer sides of the sign round white acrylic plates will be inserted. They will rest against the wooden blocks and hold back by small sprints.
Each side of the sign is mirrored, so one sign have two faces.
The light is powerful enough to project through the white acrylic plastic. And with opaque paint on top will make a huge contrast perfect for a sign.

Prop: Dragon in Noodle Bar for the larp Do Androids Dream?

IMG_024056
For the larp Do Androids Dream we needed a lot of small props to give a Blade Runner feeling of the scene.
An iconic part of the movie is the dragon sign above the Noodle Bar. I thought i could be made out of el wire and it could, it even looked like neon. The light emitting from the el wire was really low doh, I would prefer to have stronger light.

IMG_024057
I started out by placing steel wire in the dragons shape by hand.

IMG_024058
Attaching el wire around the steel wire frame was quite easy, just a matter of placing some transparent tape around it.

IMG_024059
When trying out the outer shape I know I was on the right track, it looked great!

IMG_024060
IMG_024061IMG_024062IMG_024063
The dragons tongue is animated in the movie, it’s animated in segments. I was after the same look, so I created two segments for the tongue and had the idea the enabling each segment by turning on and off the high voltage el wire transformers.
I connected a couple of N-channel MOSFET IRLML6344 and connected it to a Arduino Nano.

IMG_024064IMG_024065IMG_024066

µMute – A microwave oven silencer


I’m tired of the buzzer in the microwave oven that is beeping constant up to a minute.
IMG_20170122_0001

IMG_20170122_0002IMG_20170122_0003
So I opened it up like any normal hacker would, found the buzzer and snapped it off.

IMG_20170122_0005
IMG_20170122_0004
Sure, the buzzer was irritating, but so would be not to hear when my food is cooked. So i quickly had a look at the PCB and find a very interesting pinout.

IMG_20170122_0007
IMG_20170122_0006
So I soldered on some pins and started to measure the voltage level.
VCC of 5V looked promising for a microcontroller.

IMG_20170122_0009
IMG_20170122_0008
I had a look at the buzzer signal, it was a 2kHz signal with an amplitude of 5VDC.

IMG_20170122_0010
I had a rough idea in mind about having a small tune play instead of the 2kHz tone, and it should only play once.
So I shuffled some code together to code to play a small tune from the flash of an Arduino Nano. The flash could only hold about 18k of samples and was played at 8kHz.
https://github.com/TimGremalm/MicroMute
(inspired by http://playground.arduino.cc/Code/PCMAudio)
In lack of a better choice i choose Windows XP’s startup sound.
I shuffled some more code around to sample the original buzzer signal from a GPIO. If the sound is playing at more than 2kHz for a certain time I would trigger the sound.
I applied some time based software filters to filter out some noice.
I build a small amplifier out of an MOSFET (IRLML6344) and a small 0.5W speaker element I found at my local hackerspace.

IMG_20170122_0011
I throw it all into the chassis of the microwave oven. There was plenty of space, but i took some precautions to electrically isolate the PCB and speaker.

Unfortunately the sound from the small 0.5W element was too low. It barely was distinguishable against the sound of the microwave ovens fan.

IMG_20170122_0014
IMG_20170122_0015IMG_20170122_0012IMG_20170122_0013
IMG_20170122_0017IMG_20170122_0018
So I upgraded the element for a 3W element that I found in an old PC speaker, and took some precautions and upgraded my amplifier as well for the more stable Class-D amplifier PAM8403.

MicroMuteSchematic.sch
Schematic PDF

The sound was much louder and you can clearly hear the “Done”-sound from the microwave oven.

Festivalljus – LED, Lens, Heatsink Assembly

Assembly Spotlight With Chassi 3D 1
One of the hardest things with this project is to solve the problem with the heating. 9 pieces of 3W LED tends to get very hot, 27W that have to be transferred to the air.

LED 3DLED Inverted 3D
If I bend the pins on the led I can make the LED’s go through the PCB. An alternative is to use a lot of small via’s under the LED to transfer the heat to the underside. But I think a direct contact with the heatsink will be more effective.

Assembly PCB with LEDs 3D Without Lens
Assembly PCB with LEDs BottomAssembly PCB with LEDs 3DAssembly PCB with LEDs SideAssembly PCB with LEDs Top

Assembly PCB with LEDs 3D With Heatsink Fan
Assembly PCB with LEDs 3D With Heatsink LensesAssembly PCB with LEDs 3D With Heatsink Side
A CPU cooler should be sufficient enough to transfer the heat out to the air. I don’t know if the fan is necessary.

The whole assembly will look something like this:
Assembly Spotlight With Chassi 3D 2Assembly Spotlight With Chassi 3D 3Assembly Spotlight With Chassi 3D 4

Optics Specification

Orkide Random – A IoT flower with pretty random power

A video posted by Tim Gremalm (@timgremalm) on


Probably the most random plant in the world, it fetches a “true” random signal and display pretty colors on a WS2812 addressable LED strip.
The seed is based on one of the best randomization generators; cosmic background radiation from random.org. Yet another Internet of Things device made out of the ESP8266, the dirt cheap powerful WiFi enabled microcontroller.
IMG_6704
IMG_6705IMG_6706IMG_6707

IMG_6708IMG_6709IMG_6710IMG_6712IMG_6713IMG_6714IMG_6711

IoT Nalle dances to Twitter feed

IMG_6683
An Internet of Things enabled teddy bear that dances at filtered Twitter statuses.

IMG_6684
IMG_6685IMG_6688IMG_6686IMG_6687
To move the teddy bears arms servos is used. It’s a pretty simple setup, some extenders for the arms that is going through the real arms of the teddy bear.
The servos is quite weak, so they bearly move the arms at all.

IMG_6689
IMG_6690
Mounting of the servos.

IMG_6691
IMG_6692
The electronic setups contains of a small cheap microprocessor called ESP8266. The ESP8266 have a small WiFI-antenna integrated in the breakout board and can hook up to any access point, or even create one.
I’m running the firmware NodeMCU , it’s a real time LUA interpreter. So the firmware is only programmed once on the flash. To write your own program you just transfer them over serial UART, and the firmware will save the script on flash.
The processor is running at 80MHz so it’s pretty fast.

IMG_6693
I’m using Twitters API to fetch the latest post on a specific search term. The API gives me a detailed formated JSON file containing the time and date of the post, as well as the post.
The Twitter API is quite messy to work with, a lot of headers and authentication is required. The ESP would likly handle both the SSL and the big JSON format, but it will steal some CPU-time and it’s hard to work with. I made a PHP-proxy for the twitter feed, parsing the time and date and presenting it in unix timecode. The message of the post is stored as an MD5 hash sum.
On the IoT Nalle i keep track of the already “danced” Twitter posts and only dnaces to new posts.

IMG_6695
IMG_6694IMG_6696IMG_6697
Final assembly, a lot of hot glue and screws was used.

Interactive LED balancing board

A video posted by Tim Gremalm (@timgremalm) on


IMG_6636
IMG_6637
An interactive game were the visitors can build complex structure with help from an interactive LED balancer.
The installation was part at Vetenskapsfestivalen.

It’s a project by Stig Anton Nielsen read more about it in this post.

TeiSteadyBuilds from stig anton nielsen on Vimeo.

IMG_6645

A video posted by Tim Gremalm (@timgremalm) on

IMG_6638IMG_6643IMG_6644

The loadcells is build from 16 layers of conductive carbon packaging film. The recistance ranging from 500k to about 450 Ohm loaded at 8kg. Because it’s a so huge range the loadcells can be directly hooked up in a voltage divider, no amplifiers needed.
3 load cells us used to detect the direction and force of the balance. They are really sensitive to touch, small pressures from fingertips will be easily detected. A backside is that the film tends to be squashed so that it takes long time form the form and resistance to return.
The value from the 3 loadcells is arranged in 3 forces 120 degrees apart. The Forces is calculated into a resultant that is describing a thrust vector.
The thrust vector is indicated with a led strip of addressable WS2812 LED light. The stronger the force, more inbalanced, the greater the red marking will grow.

Att this Google Drive document I’ve collected som measuring data from the loadcells. There’s also some information of how the resultant is calculated.

Festivalljus – Lighting

IMG_3889
Regarding the lighting, the last few months I’ve been researching different kind of LEDs and optics.
Our goal is to get really narrow spotlight, maybe 6-10 degrees, and it’s really hard to get a narrow beam like that.

There exists a few models of 5/10mm hole mounted LEDs with build in focusing-optics right into the housing (http://www.ebay.com/itm/310181790384). Those LEDs makes a narrow ~13degree beam which is nice, but the RGB-colors are separated.
When you build an array of small LEDs like this it’s working quite well, but it’s not a perfect spotlight as it casts RGB-shadows (like this http://www.lungstruck.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/IMG_1965.jpg).
IMG_1965
Another bad thing with smaller LEDs are that it’s hard to get bright enough. If I were to but in 192 5mm LEDs it would only give me 15W of LED power.

Another LED-type that I’ve looked into is big 50W LED-arrays (http://www.ebay.com/itm/380676009599) with complementing 78mm lenses.
These types of LED-arrays give out it’s own LED-pattern when focused narrow enough. You can solve this by adding a diffuser close to the LED-array.
But you would have to add two 78mm lenses to focus down the beam. The narrow beam is the best so far, really crisp and around 6 degrees.
The bad thing is that it weights to much for my small construction, and also it brings upp the cost per unit really much.
Another bad thing is that you’ll need active cooling, which also adds to the weight. I used an ordinary CPU-cooler for desktop-computers.

The latest LED-type I’ve tried is 3W Star High Power RGB (http://www.ebay.com/itm/160582419768).
Ontop of that I’ve placed a special lens called a Collimating lens. Collimating lenses are directing beams from different angles straight into a column of light, it’s best described by this picture (http://www.laserfocusworld.com/content/dam/lfw/print-articles/2012/06/1206LFWnews05web.gif).
1206LFWnews05web

The lens I tried also have a built in reflector (http://www.ebay.com/itm/390625279166).
This is the best solution for my project so far. I weighs almost nothing, gives me 50W of power in an array of 16 LEDs.
A negative thing about the collimating lens is the beam is much more fuzzy than the two above LED-types. It gives out a narrow beam, but there is a lot of light leaking through around the beam.

IMG_3867
IMG_3868_annotation