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It has been a tradition for us at Seeed to make a light up project to get our entry pass to our annual party. It sounds not so good, but I do personally love this "rule" as it always pushes me to think and make something.
For this year's annual party, we have an extract daytime internal workshops to celebrate our 10th anniversary (Yeah, Seeed is 10 now!). I've signed up to lead one of the workshop to teach other Seeeders knotting macrame owls.
Then I can't stop thinking to combine this lovely owl with some tech, and making it lighting up. Kill two birds with one stone, why not？However, the creative process cost me much time, and then someday came quite suddenly an idea when I was checking a new product: Grove - RGB LED Ring. To make two ring lighting up eyes for the owl could be very interesting. And then my journey of making took off again!
Step 1: Define the fancy lighting up
Most owls are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night and they could see well in the dark. To emphasize this, I wanted to have different shining patterns for the lighting up eyes, and it would be nice if I could change the patterns through a button press.
Step 2: Proof of concept
The only product that I would definitely use is the Grove Led Ring. And it became the entry point for me to think about how it might work. So I went to the Wiki page, and I found something exctractly that I was looking for: using Seeeduino and Button to control the LED Ring.
2.1 So I got the first product list based on the Wiki Documentation as follow:
1. 1x Seeedunio, that I couldn't find so I replaced it with an Arduino Uno
2. 1x Base Shiled, it enables me with many grove connectors
3. 2x Grove Led Ring, which will the shining eyes
4. 1x Grove Button, which allows me to have different possibilities of lighting patterns
2.2 I wired these parts together as follow:
2.3 As there were two led rings, so I changed a bit in the original code in Arduino IDE as follow (mainly definite one more pin for the extra led ring):
Code in the attachment
2.4 I was super excited when downloading the code to the Arduino Uno. So far so good. However when I pressed the Button, only one of the ring could sync to the switch while the other one was lighted up with two of the pixels. I had no idea at all why it was not working. Frustrated:(
2.5 Debugging by checking the code, I think I did it over 5 times ( I even got my colleagues Anson and Kay at x.factory involved to help, thank you!). But w just couldn't find the right way. So I turned to the tech support team for help. They offered an entry-level solution for me, to add one more component called Grove I2C Hub to connect the two rings and the base shield.
2.6 Re-wiring with the I2C Hub, and it worked!
Step 3: The eyes should look good as well
The Led rings look quite good actually, but I wanted them to be more cohesive with the whole macrame owl. So I made a full set of Reverse Larks Head Knots to the rings to make them look better.
Finishing the eyes knotting, I attached the two rings to the macrame owl body.
Step 4: How to make the electronics invisible
Apart from the led rings, I had to deal with other 4 components to make them as invisible as I could. Again for the whole harmonious look.
4.1 Optimize the electronics
I realized that there was still possibility to optimize some of the electronics: A single Seeeduino Lotus could work fun for the combination of the Arduino Uno & Base Shield. The size of whole parts would be smaller, which would do me a huge favor in make the electronics invisible.
4.2 Knotting the owl from 2D to 3D
Although the components turned smaller, I still need to figure out to how to make "hide" the components with macrame knots. As the owl was in 2D, it could be cool if I could turn it into a 3D bag, and I could put all the components and power bank into the bag. And this was how it turned out:
Step 5: Wear it, light it up and party up