Sound Reactive LED Strip Animation

Every project is sexy in its own way, but we have to admit that LED projects possess a certain overt sexiness.  Luca Paolini is putting everything on full display with what he describes as “sexy, audio-responsive effects on LED strips” aka the Striptease library.

Luca has also developed custom hardware around our Audio Adapter Board, with PCBs available for Teensy 4.0 and 4.1 to house the 74HCT245 level shifter required for 5V WS2812Bs, as well as connectors and an IR receiver. His implementation features professional Neutrik speakON connectors for enhanced durability and current handling. Functionality is abstracted across several classes in a well-documented API, which can be found along with schematics and source on GitHub. Enjoy the combination of hardware and software in all of its sexy glory in the video below!

Advanced Line-Following Robot

Line-Following Robots are a fun way to get started with robotics, as well as to compete with others to see how your skills stack up. Midhun has created a unique, well-documented LFR.

An array of IR LED/phototransistor pairs in the form of Pololu’s QTRX line sensors give the bot eyes, while perfboard is used not only to connect its various breakout boards, but also to form its chassis. Dual 6V 1580 RPM high-power 15:1 gear motors power the unit, with encoders for position and distance estimation and the 10DOF motion sensors from our own Prop Shield providing heading and position. A  SparkFun TeensyView displays telemetry, calibration and other functions. An overview of the LFR can be seen in the video below, with complete, detailed build instructions on Instructables.

USB Data Acquisition

We see a lot of Data Acquisition (DAQ) projects on the Teensy forum, but this offering from experienced engineer DrM really caught our eye.

This USB DAQ model has been specifically designed around the characteristics of Teensy 3.2’s ADCs and DAC, and when paired with a precision current amplifier can provide measurement into the pA and pF ranges.

Custom Python control software provides a cross-platform GUI and CLI, and can be automated by piping data in a column-formatted ASCII file. Typically this kind of functionality would require hardware in the range of $100s if not $1000s, and that’s before the frequently even more expensive software and seat licenses. While the board is currently just a prototype, DrM is interested in producing more if there is interest — so be sure to let them know in the forums if you’d like to get your hands on one!

16N – Sixteen Fader Synth Controller

16n is a bank of faders” proclaims the  release thread on the Lines forum, and, what more could we say — it really is “just” a bank of sixteen faders.

But say more we must, because there’s a minimum expected word count for these blog posts, so here goes: more than just a pile of 60mm faders whacked onto a PCB, the 16n is a Teensy-based control interface that outputs MIDI over USB and 3.5mm stereo TRS, 0-5V CV out of sixteen jacks, and I2C over another TRS jack.

The result is an extremely flexible controller that can be used for almost anything, from Eurorack modules to DAWs to devices from the Korg volca line. The 16n is based on original work by Brian Crabtree and Sean Hellfritsch, with additional contributions by Tom Armitage, and firmware by Brian Crabtree, Tom Armitage, and Brendon Cassidy. An overview can be found on the project’s web page, with further details, including a detailed build guide, on the GitHub wiki.

Remote Controlled Riding Mower

We love seeing Teensy boards shoved into all manner of things in order to give them new capabilities and lives beyond what their original creators envisioned; souped-up toys and remote-control-ified gadgets.

This particularly large toy really caught our attention: Jesse Brockmann upgraded his 500-lb vintage John Deere 110 Mower with Teensy 3.2-powered remote-controlled steering, braking, and throttle.

The steering motor is driven by a Pololu Simple Motor Controller G2 18v15, while linear actuators handle the brakes and gear shifting. The mowing blade has already been removed, but additional safety measures include a safety tether, an energized relay that will close and shut off the ignition if power is lost, which is also connected to Teensy’s own watchdog. Jesse’s custom JRover breakout board facilitates servo and I2C hookup. A standard R/C transmitter and receiver is used for control. Find out more on SparkFun’s blog, or in the video below!

AC Powerline Frequency Monitor

We see a lot of data logging projects but jp3141 created one that caught our eye, with a device that captures the slight variations that occur in AC powerline frequency.

In the US, AC power is generally accepted as being 60Hz, but in actuality, it drifts, as can be observed via the University of Tennessee’s FNET service. jp3141’s Teensy 3.2-based device uses two of the board’s FlexTimer Module interrupts (FTMs) to measure the frequency of the power line, plus calibrate the onboard 48MHz clock using an external GPS’s 1pps calibration pulse.

Data is transmitted both via the Teensy’s own USB serial, and to a Raspberry Pi Zero W where it is logged and graphed via a Python script. A 9V AC adapter powers both boards at 5V DC, as well as providing the 60Hz AC sample to be filtered and measured.

An example of drift over time can be seen in the plot below. More information, as well as the Teensy code and Python scripts can be found on GitHub.

Oscilloscope CRT Screen Clock and Games

Perhaps the first ever “video game,” William Higinbotham’s 1958 Tennis for Two used an oscilloscope was used to render the match.  More recently, Nixiebunny brought things full circle with their Teensy 3.6-powered Scope Clock.

The clock uses the Teensy’s DACs to render the display, which can take the form of an analogue or digital clock face, but can also be used, along with the device’s integrated knobs, to play Tetris, or that other famous ball-bouncing simulator: Pong.

An integrated USB port allows for the addition of a gamepad or GPS receiver. While the code is not currently available, Nixiebunny has plans to make it open-source once the device is on sale.

Unlike William Higinbotham’s 1958 Tennis for Two which simulated the physics of the titular ball on the Donner Model 30 analogue computer, requiring considerable equipment for a public showing in 1959, Nixiebunny’s compact all-in-one build uses modern electronics paired with a Cathode Ray Tube.

M8 Portable Synthesizer and Sequencer

Chiptune artist and innovator Trash80 has distilled decades of composing, performing, and hardware hacking into the form of the Teensy 4.0-powered Dirtywave M8.

M8 offers a handheld tracker experience, but with incredibly powerful capabilities.  The M8 tracker features eight stereo tracks, up to 24-bit samples, FM and 8-bit wavetable synthesis, and even a software implementation of the classic Mutable Instruments Braids Eurorack module! Global effects, onboard sample editing and song rendering, USB MIDI and audio, and a remote virtual display make the M8 a handheld workstation to rival many DAWs.

The first M8 production from Dirtywave priced at $599 was sold out by mid-2023.  You can watch a very slick promo video on YouTube and many other videos of M8 usage.  Hopefully more M8s will be made in the future.

DIY Playdate Camera

Before we all carried supercomputers in our pockets, the Game Boy Camera was a pretty unique proposition. Inexpensive, portable, digital photography — even featuring a selfie mode!  t0mg decided to create their own 1-bit camera add on for Panic’s unique Playdate portable gaming console.

t0mg took advantage of Teensy 4.1’s USB Host capabilities in order to transmit image data via serial, essentially emulating a very strange controller that sends pixels instead of button inputs. Excellent detail about the project can be found on the PD-Camera accessory’s GitHub repo, including a deep dive into how it all works, and a fun overview of its capabilities can be seen in the video below.

DIY Playdate Keyboard

T0mg created a Teensy 4.1-based keyboard adapter dock for Panic’s Playdate handheld console, along with an accompanying minimalist word processor app.

The dock uses Teensy’s USB Host capabilities to transmit keyboard inputs as if they were rotations of the Playdate’s unique analogue crank controller — and can actually be used with other USB controllers, like those from 8bitDo. Alongside the Teensy, a small USB hub is concealed in the dock, to allow connection to the keyboard/controller as well as the Playdate itself.

More detail, including firmware and STL files can be found on GitHub, and a nice build thread with videos can be found on whatever the site that used to be called Twitter is called by the time you read this.