E-Skateboard Lighting

Ben Schwartz combined his passion for building electric skateboards with some NeoPixels to make an illuminated ride.

While Ben had experience building electric skateboards, he didn’t have a lot of experience with coding for NeoPixels.  He started off using an Aurduino Uno and modified the NeoPixel tutorial by Alex Glow.  He moved to the Teensy 3.2 because the compact size made it easier to fit into his project. A 24V to 5V buck converter was used to power the Teensy and NeoPixels from the skateboard battery.

To finish up the project Ben made a 3D-printed enclosure to waterproof the electronics.

Code, schematics, and the 3-D printing plans can all be found on the Hackster.io project page.

Bicycle Helmet Turn Signals

Simon Restrepo upgraded his bicycle helmet with a nifty safety improvement, LED turn signals.

After a close call with a bus while riding his bike one night, Simon wanted to improve his visability while riding his bike.  He had a Teensy 3.2 handy and decided to add LED turn signals to his bike helmet.

The turn signals are pretty easy to put together.  The Teensy fits into a tictac box to protect it and the project is powered up by a small power bank.  The turn signals are activated by a couple of push buttons – one for left and the other for right.

This instrucables page details how to make your own.

Code for the project is published on GitHub.

Vintage TRS-80 Model 100 Computer Upgrade

Trammel Hudson upgraded a TRS-80 Model 100 computer with modern hardware.

The TRS-80 Model 100 was introduced in 1983 and was one of the first notebook-style computers.  It features an 8-bit processor and 32k of RAM.  Trammel Hudson came across one of these and while it’s motherboard had failed, the LCD and keyboard were still working.  He decided to take this non-working model and give a new brain.  The original, bulky motherboard (check out all those  through hole parts) was replaced with a Teensy ++ 2.0

There was a bit of a challenge with making the original LCD and keyboard work with the Teensy.  He first identified how the LCD drivers worked and wrote libraries to replace them.  The LCD did not have a character generator, so a font set had to be created.

Check out this project page for details on how it came together.

Radio Music DIY Eurorack Module

Tom Whitwell of Music Thing Modular created Radio Music, a DIY virtual radio module.

Radio Music is not a radio.  It is a eurorack module sample player that behaves like a radio and is designed to be a source of unexpected audio.

This module works on a series of banks and stations, just like a radio.  It uses a Teensy 3.2 to play files from an SD card to simulate a voltage controlled AM/FM/Shortwave/Time Travel radio.

This module is extremely versatile and can be turned into a different module simply by changing the firmware.  The Chord Organ firmware that synthesizes chords.

Radio Music is open hardware with extensive documentation available on GitHub.

To learn more about Radio Music, check out this great 5-part series from Voltage Control Lab that covers topics such as preparing samples and alternative firmware.

You can purchase a Radio Music DIY kit from Thonk.  It includes all the parts needed to build your own.  The kit features maker-friendly though hole parts.  Here’s a time lapse video of the assembly


Subaru Car Hacking

P1kachu has been hacking his 1997 Subaru Impreza STi.

The ’97 Impreza uses an engine control unit (ECU) and provides a diagnostic connector for external communication.  P1ckachu built a diagnostic interface device, got a dump of the ECU’s firmware, and reverse engineered the binary to figure out how to disable the speed limiter.  The custom interface uses a Teensy 3.2 and logic level converter to convert the Teensy’s 3.3v to the car’s 5v.

P1kachu has a great write up the project on this page.

Code for the project is published on GitHub.



Handstand Keyboard

alpage built a large keyboard to be played while doing a handstand.

When his handstand coach asked if anyone could build a piano that could be played with his feet while upside down, alpage stepped up to the task.  Using a Teensy 3.5 and wave table synthesis in the Audio Library, the piano came together.  The piano plays chords and has 4 different voices.

You can watch the keyboard being played with feet while in a handstand in this Facebook video.




Frank Piesik built the ElektroCaster, an awesome open, modular guitar-synth.

The incredibly versatile ElektroSynth is playable as both an electric guitar and and synth, and also has a pretty impressive list of features such as:

  • Parametric OpenScad modelling (changable string count, scale, space between strings,…)
  • Fully controllable RGB-Led-iluminated Fretboard (Only the first 17 frets for now, but easily exendable)
  • Touch-sensing-frets
  • Long scale (700mm) for low tunings
  • Two micros, one for audio an one for everything else.
  • Per string signal path
    • hexaphonic pickup
    • hex-preamp

This project came about because Frank had always wanted an illuminated fret-board to display information such as scales and sequences.  Armed with a 3D printer, CNC router and other maker tools, he set out to build a guitar from scratch.

The HackADay project page has some great information on the project as well as a detailed build log.  This is an open source project with the code available on GitHub and design files available on Dropbox (a Dropbox login is required)

Pitch Plus – Little League Baseball Wearable Device

Brett Garberman is part of a team that developed Pitch Plus, a wearable device for Little League baseball pitchers

Repetitive pitching is a leading cause of non-contact injuries in Little League.  Monitoring the number of pitches per player for a game, season, or month can be a challenging task.  The Medical Device club at the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Health-Tech initiative developed Pitch Plus to help with monitor the pitching activity of Little League players.

The PitchPlus uses a Teensy 3.2 as its processor and also has an ADXL377 accelerometer.  The device collects data on the pitching activity of the player and stores it on an SD card.  Not only does it record pitch count, but the level of force in the pitch as well.  The data can then be imported into MATLAB for analysis.  It also includes a Bluetooth module that allows the data to be live-streamed for live visualization.  This allows for coaches to better monitor players and limit play time when needed to prevent injury.