LED Prop (staff, poi, clubs, etc) and costume makers:

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(Matt Starbuck) #1

LED Prop (staff, poi, clubs, etc) and costume makers: how do you feel about having an Arduino Compatible Open Source Hardware platform with integrated sensors, touch buttons, screen, sd storage, bluetooth connectivity, 2A USB chargeable with boost/buck converter and able to work with both clocked and clockless addressable LED?

Draft Hardware Spec: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cO_9zPwCnWuFOZP4JTCI8ds4hVfTkAT3s-zkTOlsCIM

The goal is to make something durable enough to take the abuse that poi/staff/clubs take, bright enough for professional performance, and generally hackable to enable others to explore making their own LED props. (Basically it has to survive Burning Man) I’ve gotten pretty far down the path to this and I think it’s time to join others in building “openProp”. Thoughts, comments, ideas?

@Ashley_M_Kirchner_No @Erin_St_Blaine @Larry1

(Matt Starbuck) #2

If you want to comment on the draft hardware spec lemme know what email i should add to be able to edit :slight_smile:

(Larry) #3

The led light sabor guys have stuff like this. Always wondered why flow people didn’t do the same.

(Ashley M. Kirchner [Norym]) #4

I’d add RF support as well. And with everything you would want, 7/8" ID gets tight, I know, I’ve been using one. :slight_smile: Not impossible, but you’re potentially looking at stacking multiple boards to keep things short.

Since you only want a single battery, you won’t need a buck. Just a boost circuit. Charging through USB1 and USB2 will only provide you up to 500mA (per USB specs). USB3 bumps that up, but the connector will eat up a lot of space. You can make it dual mode where it charges either through USB @ 500mA or DC @ up to 2A (this depends on the battery.) I choose the latter for my design.

If you’re planning to drive the LED drivers with the boost as well, you’re going to run into problems with high current usage. Just saying.

(Ashley M. Kirchner [Norym]) #5

And if you want to add me, use kirash4 at gmail …

(Matt Starbuck) #6

@Larry1 can you direct me to these LED light saber plans and/or open-source project. I’m curious if they use some of the same sensors and working between from that project for this one. Thanks

(Matt Starbuck) #7

@Ashley_M_Kirchner_No r Will do when I get back on a real computer. I’m thinking a couple diff variants, one for smaller props and one for larger props with a beefier buck converters. Boost seems to top out at 30 watts or so.

(Larry) #8

@Matt_Starbuck I don’t really know much about yhem only really have seen them when doing random searches on leds. I could try to find them for you tonight when I get home.

(Erin St. Blaine) #9

My dream props would also have a music reactive mode.

Another thing I would love is the ability to have a preset program run when the props “hear” a particular piece of music … so I could choreograph the light show to complement the music track and the poi or hoop would automagically start the program when the music starts playing. (Maybe programmed using midi?) No idea what that would take. But I would love it.

(Ashley M. Kirchner [Norym]) #10

Meh, just detect the music, listen for cues, and send an RF signal …

(Larry) #11

@Erin_St_Blaine if you wanted to get crazy you could use dmx512. And have everyone be controlled by one light rig computer.

I’ve toyed with the idea of setting up hoop to display images together using something like madrix or pixelinvaders

(Matt Starbuck) #12

@Erin_St_Blaine that’s exactly the type of application I’m talking about. It has the sensors and enough horsepower to crunch the numbers and do interesting things with that sensor data, and a self-contained and intuitive user interface.

For music reactivity, use Bluetooth (or RF, each has its advantages) connectivity to your phone and then use the phone’s microphone plus an app with your chosen audio analysis algorithm.

That app would use the same protocol as your DMX 512 to costume “bridge.”

At least that’s the idea, trying to build a platform to explore ideas and applications just like this.

(Erin St. Blaine) #13

Hmm… my instinct here is to think this is way too complicated.

As a performer, I get to the gig and hand my phone (in airplane mode) to the DJ so he can play my music 30 minutes later when the show starts. I don’t have access to it after that, so can’t go tell it to connect to my props. I don’t want to turn my props on 30 minutes early or I’ll compromise battery life. And asking the DJ to open an app and start a BT connection? That’s NOT going to happen. Most of them can’t even reliably find the play button.

For light shows, I don’t usually bring a tech guy along with me. You have to pay tech guys… so having someone with a separate phone or tablet who can run the light show isn’t practical without charging a lot more (and consequently booking fewer shows).

Also, I’m in a costume that has no pockets, so I can’t be my own tech guy. And I may end up performing really far away from where I started / set my computer / whatever. And with everything going on, it’s enough trouble to make sure all the props are charged and my phone is charged with the correct music set – having yet another gadget to deal with just seems like another point of failure and another thing pulling me out of performance-brain.

I also like the idea of having one controller for multiple props, but I’ve never seen this work reliably either in the real world. One poi is always out of range or not in the right mode or something, and then you have 5 minutes of futzing before the show can start, which is super unprofessional.

So I want amazing functionality where everything just happens or is taken care of ahead of time, with 100% reliability. I also want a pony. That’s not asking too much is it?

(Ashley M. Kirchner [Norym]) #14

The solution to multiple props is using something like a Zigbee mesh network, which adds layers of complexity but in the end it’s very stable and ends up being a kick ass solution. However, dealing with music on a distance prop can be problematic if you’re the only one doing it. One possible solution is to have a “device” connected to your phone or laptop that “listens” for the music and send a signal to your outfit to tell it when to start. This “device” can be a simple pass through so the DJ can plug into it instead of directly into your phone or laptop. Either way, you’re adding additional hardware.

(Larry) #15

Having the dj do anything is not going to work. Its not like its used to be. Most djs don’t have a actual mixer now. Some clubs has the entire setup for you to play on but wont allow you do mess with inputs ect… some places can be really weied about it.

(Ashley M. Kirchner [Norym]) #16

That’s why I like the idea of just giving them a jack to plug into and starting the program. Most are happy to do just that. So if there’s something in between, that can process the audio (like an MSGEQ7), it can then trigger stuff without the DJ having to do anything but hitting play.

(Matt Starbuck) #17

Or a laptop doing the same, potentially with the passthrough splitter

(Chaka September) #18

I’d definitely agree with adding RF, mainly to sync props without a master bluetooth controller.

I’d also love to see it fit inside 5/8" so it could fit in a hoop as well, but I realise this’ll be difficult.

Would be good to mention what memory / storage would be available. You mention micro sd in your comment, but not in the document

(Ashley M. Kirchner [Norym]) #19

For size, you are limited by the physical sizes of the components themselves. An SD card is made only so small. Then you need the PCB a little bit larger to fit the solder pads. MCUs also only get so small. But yeah, memory would likely be SD since it’s the most common and easy to work with.

(Chaka September) #20

Maybe having a range of boards available would be good. Having a fully functional larger board for the majority of props, as you aren’t limited by size in most poi/staff/clubs etc. But also a smaller less functional board (ideally smaller than 5/8" wide) for props like hoop and levi stick which do have a size constraint.

Solder pads etc don’t necessarily need to make a board wider, could be longer as you’re generally only constrained by size on one axis.