Blog Posts

Burning Man Art – Flaming Palm Trees

Monica Houston built these awesome flaming LED palm trees for her camp at Burning Man.

This was Monica’s first fire art project.  Her motivation for the project was to impress her friends and having something fun to take to festivals and parties.  It was important that it be interactive so a control panel was made to allow people to generate poofs of flame.

Two controllers are used.  A Teensy 2.0 controls the propane valves and sends messages to a Teensy 3.2 animating 1200 LEDs in sync with the flames.  Complete source code is available on github.

Check out this album for more photos and videos of the project





Moon Germs Hand Held Synth

Kenneth Marut made a very cool, battery powered, hand held, digital synthesizer – Moon Germs.

This compact synth uses a combination of buttons and triggers to produce different waveforms and effects. An 8×8 LED matrix shows information while use.  It also uses an IR proximity sensor to modulate frequency.  In recent updates to the project he synth engine was restructured to include a Low Pass Filter and Low Frequency Oscillator (LFO).

As a lifelong musician Kenneth wanted to explore digital synthesis and experiment with unique ways of interacting with a synth using minimal buttons and knobs.  He hadn’t really explored digital synthesis before and decided dive in using a Teensy 3.2 and audio shield.

Be sure to check out the HackaDay project page, it has a lot of great information.

Code for the project is available on GitHub


Halloween Singing Skulls

Rob Reynolds over at SparkFun whipped up some singing skulls just in time for Halloween.

Inspired by a recent trip to Disney World and seeing animatronic magic, Rob grabbed a Teensy 3.6, an audio shield, and some plastic skulls and got to making. He created 4 solenoid circuits using mosfets to trigger the singing skulls.  To top it all off, googly eyes were added to the skulls, because googly eyes make everything better.

QWERTY Keyboard

Pete Prodoehl built a custom QWERTY keyboard in homage to the typewriters of old.


The inspiration for the project came from Pete’s interest in keyboards and typewriters as well as as a fascination with machines, and how people interact with technology .  He grew up in Milwakee, the birthplace of the first successful typewriter.  Coincidentally, he also lives near a street named fro Christopher Latham Scholes, the primary inventor of the QWERTY keyboard.

His QWERTY keyboard is made of wood, just like the early prototype of the Sholes, Glidden, & Soule typewriter.  While Pete feels that he doesn’t quite have the woodworking skills of his father, he is good at creating thing digitally.  He asks a compelling questions – are we losing the ability to craft real-world objects in exchange for creating digital objects?  He suggests that maybe digital fabrication is the answer and perhaps it can bridge the gab between the two.

Some additional information can be found here and here

Turnado MIDI Controller

Liam Lacey created an incredible custom MIDI controller for Turnado, a powerful audio effects software program.

This custom controller provides a sleek interface to the Turnado audio FX software giving a performer easy access to the software during live performances.   Not only are all the controls optimally mapped to the software, but a TFT display provides the real time value of the knobs as well as displays a menu for configuring the controller’s MIDI settings.

Liam has a great write of the project as well as a build log (complete with schematics) on his HackaDay project page.   Code for the project is available on GitHub.





Tom Boyd made the ArduServer, a web server built in a Teensy that allows for remote control and the reading of sensors over the web.

The ArduServer uses a Teensy and a WIZ820 ethernet module.  The Teensy connects to an LED and light sensor.  Users can turn the LED on or off by using a web page.  The web page also displays reading from the light sensor and the state of the LED.    The LED and light sensor can be interchanged to other input/output devises such as temperature, photo sensor, etc.

The source code for the project can be found here.