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Bucky Glow

A geometric object that lights up and plays music

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The Bucky Glow is an interactive LED dodecahedron consisting of 11 LEDs, which are controlled with an Arduino Nano. Using the Arduino programming environment, you can create endless light-up patterns. The Bucky Glow also includes break-out header pins, so you have access to eleven digitial I/O pins, a TX (transmit) pin, a RX (receive) pin, reset pin, and ground pin. These pins enable you to connect the Bucky Glow to sensors (e.g. capacitive touch, infrared, ultrasonic), motors, MIDI jacks, and any other electronics you can think of. There are tons of unique ways to make the Bucky Glow musical and interactive.

Bucky Glow Overview

11 Programmable LEDs

The data pin and clock pin of a WS2801 LED strip are connected to pin A0 and A1 of an Arduino nano, respectively. This allows you to light up the dodecahedron with any color pattern you can imagine and stream patterns.

Break-out pins to hook up any sensor and MIDI

The best feature of the Bucky Glow is that you have access to digitial I/O pins, a TX (transmit) pin, a RX (receive) pin, reset pin, and ground pin. These pins enable you to connect the Bucky Glow to sensors (e.g. capacitive touch, infrared, ultrasonic), motors, MIDI jacks, and any other electronics you can think of. There are tons of unique ways to make the Bucky Glow musical and interactive.

Bucky Glow App

If you don't want to jump into programming right away, you can light up the Bucky Glow using an app, which provides an interface for creating and displaying patterns in real-time with only a few mouse clicks. 

Easy to assemble

The Bucky Glow is easy and fun to build. To assemble the Bucky Glow, all you need is a single allen wrench. No glue is required! 

Educational tool 

The Bucky Glow is a great tool for doing some more intermediate programming and electronics with the Arduino. If you are looking to go beyond the usual Arduino starter kit, you may be interested in building a Bucky Glow.

Zip Archive - 11.77 MB - 06/30/2018 at 04:01

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ino - 4.27 kB - 06/30/2018 at 03:59

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ino - 2.28 kB - 06/30/2018 at 03:59

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  • 1 × Arduino Nano
  • 1 × WS2801 LED strip (11 LEDs)
  • 30 × MDF V-joints
  • 5 × MDF base joints
  • 25 × MDF pup joints

View all 19 components

  • Pentagonal button design

    Jonathan Bumstead09/08/2018 at 04:23 0 comments

    The breakout pins of the first Bucky Glow prototype enable you to customize the Bucky Glow for any sensor or MIDI, but I want the next prototype to play like an instrument. To achieve this, the faces of the Bucky Glow need to act as buttons. In my geodesic dome project, I used IR sensors for detecting when the user's hand was close to the surface. However, they were not not reliable because of IR radiation of the environment, crosstalk between IR sensors, and inaccurate measurements. For the Bucky Glow I have thought about different solutions: frequency encoded IR sensors, capacitive touch, and pushbuttons. 

    After running some preliminary tests, I have decided on going with pushbuttons. They are easy and dependable, and I think the action of the button will play more like the keys of a piano that touch sensors. The design started with a few rough sketches (see posted images). Now I am running through the modeling in Fusion. The idea is that the plexiglass pentagon will float above the walls of the Bucky Glow with spring-loaded arms. The end of the arm will make contact with a conductive material on the pentagon face.


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