First, I apologize for not fulfilling my promise for more posts. I’ve had many personal issues including deaths and a certain break-up. So I apologize.
Now on to the new project! I’ve been working on a new valentines gift. So let me describe it to you a little bit. The gift is a light up heart! No surprise there, but the catcher is this thing is tiny! Just as big as a quarter, I’d say the size of a 50 cent coin. The heart is powered by any device with a USB-Micro. Now, at this point, I only know how to program in android in terms of smart phones so the heart will be controlled by that at release.
The picture attached is the first version I’ve stopped working on. It is only to give you a general idea of what it is I’m working on. The current version is a bit bigger.
The heart uses the AS1130 PWM multiplexer. This chip is Austrian Microsystems most awesome chip. The chip uses the technique charlieplexing to achieve a full 132 individually addressable leds that can be pulse width modulated. This makes for some amazing animations in a small space. The more awesome thing is that the AS1130 communicates through I2C or TWI, which makes using it so easy, especially with the Arduino.
Now you might be thinking, “How will the android phone control the heart?” Well there will be an app on the phone, and then you plug the heart into the phone and the phone will send the data to the heart. If you are knowledgeable about the microcontrollers that Arduino offers, then you know that none of them can use the bootloader and also be a USB Host controller at the same time. That’s where the Max3421 comes in. This is a very small chip from Maxim. It connects to the USB Micro pins and then outputs the information through SPI pins which then go the the microcontroller that I’ll be using.
I know this project isn’t perfect. The one thing that I have issue with the size is that its too small to incorporate a battery. The heart must be plugged in to be on. I have been working on a powered version although I haven’t been able to make it small enough to relate it to the original product. Another issue is the “open-source-ability” of the heart. Although its nice and small, it isn’t very hack-able. All the documentation will be made open to everybody although the issue is that I will only be including a USB-Micro plug (male). There is no ICSP, UART, or l2C broken out. Now maybe that is a good thing, so people can get used to hacking things in that manner.
Now I’m still in development although I already have an android app written for it, and the prototyping parts set up. The only hurdle at this point is writing a program to go on the microcontroller that will be suitable for the needs.
So thats what I have been up to!
Thanks for stopping by.
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