Sports were some of the first activities to be cancelled during the pandemic. I’m sure fans have been disappointed that they can’t go to games to see their favorite teams play, but the situation is even worse for kids who play sports. They’ve had to go nearly a year without being able to participate in any organized sporting events, like Little League Baseball. There isn’t much that can be done about those organized sports until the pandemic peters out, which is why Yuksel Temiz built an Arduino-based LED hockey puck for his son to practice inside with.
Hitting the hockey puck is obviously only one part of actually playing hockey, but this puck at least makes it fun to do inside with dad. Unlike a regular ol’ hockey puck that just slides around monochromatically, this hockey puck lights up and makes noises based on how hard it is accelerated. It adds a nice little show every time the hockey puck is hit, which just makes things all the more fun. To take advantage of this new and improved hockey puck, Temiz even 3D-printed a pair of small hockey sticks that he and his son can use to knock the puck into miniature goals.
The body of the hockey puck was 3D-printed, based on a model that Temiz designed himself in FreeCAD 3D modeling software. The light effects come from an Adafruit NeoPixel Ring, which contains 12 individually-addressable RGB LEDs. That is controlled by an Arduino Nano board, which receives power from a 140mAh 3.7V LiPo battery. An MPU6050 accelerometer detects when the hockey puck is moved. A small piezo buzzer is used to produce the sound effects. The LiPo charging circuit was salvaged from an old power bank, though Temiz says that a dedicated LiPo power management board, like the Adafruit PowerBoost 1000C, would have worked better. The result is an LED-lit hockey puck that makes playing indoors just a little bit more fun.