Box of Clicky Light Awesomeness

Jeremy Gilbert made an awesome clicky toy.  The goal of the project was to create a toy that is fun to use, be tactile, light up, and make fun and satisfying noises.

After looking at different options to get the right “clicky-ness”, a 5V relay was used.  Jeremy discovered that you get get louder clicks if you overdrive the voltage.  While this probably isn’t so good for the relay, he felt that since the actual duty cycle is so short it was worth the risk.

The clicky box of awesomeness is  field programmable so that when new suggestions come up during user acceptance testing (performed by his 3-year old daughter) they can be implemented right away.

The write up on Jeremy’s Hackaday project offers a good narrative of how he approached the challenge of getting the right clicky sound and feel.


The Kyub: 3D Feather Touch MIDI Keyboard

Keith Baxter made a hand held MIDI keyboard called The Kyub.  This device using capacitive sensing and has an internal accelerometer for controlling the volume.

This video from their Kickstarter campaign gives a good overview and explanation of how the Kyub works.

This is a pretty cool video demoing the Kyub configured as a set of drum pads.

The software and details about how to build and use the Kyub are available on the Kyub website.

Tachometer Using Photosensor

Elliot Carter published a tutorial on making a photoresistor-based tachometer.

The project came about when he needed to test the top speed of a stepper motor.  After putting it together the project became an important diagnostic tool for a larger project – not only does it test the top speed of stepper motors but it also works as a tool to verify code.

The tachometer measures rotational speed using only simple light sensor with an op-amp comparator circuit.  While many mechanical engineers might cringe at the thought of an op-amp, Elliot’s team found a tutorial that explained them well.

Laser Ukulele

Marcus Herbert took an inexpensive ukulele, cut the strings off, designed some circuits, and turned it into a fully functioning laser ukulele that sounds great.

Some of the features include:

  • Custom tuning mode allows 128 notes as per the MIDI standard (12 notes [C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B] across 11 octaves for C-G and 10 octaves for G#-B)
  • Full soprano ukulele fretboard (12 frets)
  • Four lasers as strings
  • Virtual capo can be placed along any of the 12 frets
  • Although this is in the shape of a ukulele, the computer software determines the final sound, so the physical instrument could end up sounding like whatever instrument you desire
  • Note velocity can be customized from 0 to 127 and is displayed on the LCD screen


Enchant Lightsaber FX Board

The Firebrand Forge has created an open source FX board (Kickstarter) for light sabers and other props.

UPDATE: This board appear to now be available on Tindie.


The ENCHANT board is a light and sound controller with an accelerometer and gyroscope.  It’s compact size makes it ideal for props, like light sabers, and wearables.

This video shows the light saber in action.

The rewards in their Kickstarter campaign include levels from an ENCHANT board, an ENCHANT wearable skirt, and multiple light sabers.