3D-Printed Blinky Orb Responds to Movement with IMU

We know that RGB LEDs make for awesome projects, so how about LEDs arranged on 3D-printed sphere that react to movement? That’s exactly…

Jeremy S. Cook
a year ago3D Printing

We know that RGB LEDs make for awesome projects, so how about LEDs arranged on 3D-printed sphere that react to movement? That’s exactly what James Bruton produced for his latest build, using an Arduino Mega for control, along with an MPU-6050 IMU. The strips themselves are APA102/DotStar style, which require both a data and clock input, but not an interrupt, important so as not to interfere with the IMU’s I2C interface.

The ball itself looks like something of an oversized Christmas tree ornament, with eight individual arcs forming the segments of a mostly open sphere. These are attached to a central hub, which includes a custom wire conduit that allows the LED strips to be wired together, making them appear as on continuous strip to the controller. Bruton’s setup also features a mount for the Arduino board, with a power switch and a pair of buttons to increment the lighting mode up and down.

The resulting device is quite beautiful when activated, and after calibrating the IMU, he shows off the whole setup using a test routine from the Adafruit library, cycling through each RGB color as if it was a continuous strip. He then runs another routine where each segment is treated as an individual strip, and several more modes where the sphere responds to its position in space via the IMU.

Be sure to see it in action in the video below, or check out the code and CAD files for the build on GitHub.

Jeremy S. Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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