Aurora LED Wall on Art Car

Strangelove Art Car 2012

Strangelove Art Car 2012, Photo Shira Brettman

A collaboration in August 2012 with Greg Friedman ( and Liam Holt produced a beautiful LED Wall mounted on the side of our Burning Man Camp’s Art Car. The LED wall displays scrolling text and graphic animations.

IPad on Aurora LED Wall

Here is an an iPad app I wrote to help drive the wall display in the desert. The iPad was connected to a beagle bone via a Redpark serial cable.

See more technical details in Greg’s post here.


Wheaton Crimpenstein touch switch – improved

An improved version of the touch capacitor switch for the Wheaton Crimpenstein

Go from pushing a very hard rubbery button requiring a lot of force…..


to a touch sensor. This way you can crimp vials with one hand and no pressure!

More details in Lab Hacks

Edge Lit LED Art

Watch it in action:

My grandmother turns 100 this winter. In celebration I made her a small gift which included elements of old and new. Its a LED edge lit picture frame, with a floral design of 12 flowers, representing 1912, the year she was born. The pink background is silk. Each of the flowers contains a brass screw center, which effectively is a touch sensor. When you touch a flower, or a cluster of flowers a different lighting sequence will show.

How its made: The following items went into the frame to make it work.

Here is the basic schematic from adafruit for the ledstrip. Only one led strip was used in this frame. The strip was embedded tightly against the acrylic for the correct fit and alignment in order to get the lighting effect.

Schematic from Adafruit

A photo of the back panel. This was a bit of a last minute project so the breadboard and arduino were glued to the backing and then covered with a black plastic panel to keep everything together. We left the USB cord in place so that new color sequences could be programmed in the future.

Science Hackday – Kinesutra

While I was building the tire swing this past spring, Liam Holt mentioned to me a kinetic project he was interested in creating, based on dance.The idea was to develop a prototype for a haptic feedback system that would help dancers correct their movements as they studied new choreography.

I really loved the idea because it resonated with me personally, from first hand experience I know it can take years to learn skills in a sport that requires fine motor control and coordination, such as figure skating.

kinect image

At  SF Science Hackday in November 2012, we put together a working demo with a great team and called it Kinesutra.

It was a short weekend project with a team of 10 people! The challenge of building a project over a weekend became so much easier with more hands at work. The organizers at the hackday was made life easier by allowing people to sleep overnight at the venue so that at the crack of dawn, everyone could have a headstart at working on the project again.

So what’s next? Hopefully we’ll get folks together once again outside of the hackday to refine it and present it again, possibly at a mini maker faire.

Also, see Wired Magazine Article for coverage on the SF Science Hackday event.