About this project
Update - June 7, 2013 - Just 4 days left to go and we are within spitting distance of 400%! We've been working on some good stuff, which you can read about in our third update.
Update - May 30, 2013 - 13 days to go, 313% funded! You backers are amazing and we're working hard to make the BlinkyTape great for you! More details in our second update.
Update - May 15, 2013 - Woah! We're funded in under 48 hours! We are super excited, but of course this is just the beginning. Check out more details in our first update.
Hi, we're Blinkiverse
... and we make LEDs awesome!
We've done a lot of work with LEDs for events all over the US. Our most popular project is probably the DomeStar - a 16-foot diameter dome covered with 6,400 addressable RGB LEDs. DomeStar is one part installation, one part chill out space, one part high-energy dance floor, and has appeared at events such as the NYC Resistor Interactive Show, Disorient Country Club, PEX Summer Festival, Burning Man, the Open Hardware Summit and World Maker Faire.
A flattened version of DomeStar provided engaging, reactive lighting for the Daft Punk Halloween Performance in NYC.
We've had a lot of fun working with LEDs, but we've often been frustrated by how difficult they can be to program, power, mount, and enclose.
That's why we invented the BlinkyTape!
BlinkyTape is a one meter long, full-color light tape with 60 independent RGB LEDs controlled by our custom light processor. Power and communications are provided by a built-in micro-USB connector. An on-board button allows for simple interactions such as choosing between effects.
BlinkyTape is flexible, so you can easily integrate it into any shape your project needs. BlinkyTape also comes enclosed in weatherproof silicone, so it's suitable for outdoor use!
Patterns can be stored directly on the BlinkyTape, so there's no need for a dedicated computer. Taking designs on the go is as simple as plugging the BlinkyTape into a USB battery pack!
The BinkyTape comes with bright, colorful built-in patterns, but of course you will want to make your own!
The BlinkyTape comes with a rich set of companion software that run cross-platform on Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. Creating custom animations is as easy as plugging the BlinkyTape into your computer and starting PatternPaint. Patterns can be edited in real-time, or saved to the strip for playback away from the computer.
Music Reactive Mode
Need some sweet lighting for your next party? No problem, hook a couple of BlinkyTapes up to your USB port, fire up DiscoParty, and you'll have flashing colors and bright lights in no time.
Our favorite thing about the BlinkyTape is how easy it is to program to meet your own needs.
The BlinkyTape understands a simple serial protocol over USB, and we have plenty of example code for controlling the BlinkyTape using free programming environments such as Processing and Python.
Of course, it's possible to go even lower level. The BlinkyTape uses the same ATMEGA32u4 processor that you will find in the Arduino Leonardo, and can be programmed using the same easy-to-learn Arduino programming environment. We provide plenty of examples to get your project started!
We <3 Open Source Hardware
We strongly believe in open source, and the BlinkyTape is no exception. All of the design files, PCB layouts, and source code are available now on Github.
Got a cool extension or some neat patterns? Please share them! Operators are standing by to review your pull requests.
Every one of the projects in our Kickstarter video is what we like to call a Speed Project. Speed Projects are typically done in one sitting and we think that these really show off how powerful the BlinkyTape can be!
Blinky Hat - 30 minutes
The Blinky Hat started its life as a $7 hat found on the streets of Shenzhen, China. With the help of some double-sided tape, we wrapped a BlinkyTape around the hat brim and plugged it into our computer.
We used the live preview feature of PatternPaint to map out which LEDs were part of the front-left, front-right, and rear parts of the hat. From there it was a simple matter of making some sweet animations and saving them to the BlinkyTape. The last step was to simply unplug from the computer and plug into a portable USB charger!
Movie FX - 1 Hour
Inspired by the computer-screens-projected-on-faces effects in a popular sci-fi film, this project required only a BlinkyTape, some double-sided sticky tape, and a 4-sided box.
With the BlinkyTape attached to the front of the box we loaded up PatternPaint to make some cool looking animations that would light up our victi-, er, actor's face. After saving the pattern to the BlinkyTape, we just needed to find a dark, quiet place to film!
DJ Booth - 10 Minutes
Armed with 3 BlinkyTapes mounted in our aluminum diffuser tubes, a USB hub for power, and a MacBook Pro for the tunes, this project was a breeze to set up.
Using the awesome SoundFlower from Cycling '74, we looped the laptop's outgoing audio back in to the system input. This gives a clean audio signal to our DiscoParty app, which runs in Processing and makes use of the built-in beat detection analysis that Processing provides.
Warning: This project is super quick to set up, but we had so much fun tweaking the various visual effects that we spent hours playing with it afterwards.
Light Painting - 10 Minutes
This project used a BlinkyTape mounted in an aluminum diffuser tube, a camera with a long exposure setting, and a dark place to shoot pictures.
PatternPaint makes light painting super simple with its image import functionality. Since the BlinkyTape has 60 RGB LEDs, we can load in almost any image that is 60 pixels tall. By saving the pattern to the BlinkyTape and powering it with a portable USB charger, we can make ridiculously awesome light paintings anywhere and everywhere (that it is dark enough to do so).
The BlinkyTape is a one meter strip of flexible PCB material containing 60 RGB LEDs. At one end is our custom light processor, the BlinkyBoard. The BlinkyTape come enclosed in a weatherproof silicone tubing.
- 8-bit ATMEGA32u4 operating at 16MHz
- 32KB Flash memory
- 2.5KB RAM
- 1KB EEPROM
- Micro USB connector for power and data
- On-board micro switch for interactive applications
About the Rewards
These are included with every reward level above the TRIPPY GLASSES level.
The BlinkyTape that we're so excited about! You'll receive the BlinkyTape coiled tightly for shipping and sealed in a small electrostatic bag. We'll include a micro USB cable, so you don't have to provide one on your own.
For those that want to use BlinkyTape in portable projects, the BLINKIN' PORTABLE backer reward level includes a 2400mAh USB-chargeable power supply for a night's worth of blinky fun.
LEDs look even better when they're behind a nice diffuser. For backers at the TUBULAR reward level, we'll include a length of aluminum extrusion with a snap-on plastic diffuser.
This level also includes a 110V/220V 50/60hz two-prong power supply, so your BlinkyTape can shine 24/7.
About the Blinkiverse Team
- Max Henstell - Señor programmer of Blinkiverse, Max is a programmer by day and hardware hacker by night. Max enjoys making things blink, move, and communicate. As an active member of the hackerspace community, he regularly collaborates with others on open-source software, lighting displays, robots, and other interesting projects.
- Matt Mets - Technically Director of Blinkiverse, Matt is a maker who uses electronics to create playful objects that teach and inspire. An electrical engineer by training, he's been at various times an RF engineer, embedded systems architect, writer, and exhibit designer. He currently lives in Guangzhou, where he enjoys fast access to the world's largest electronics manufacturing base.
- Marty McGuire - Applications Engineer for Blinkiverse, Marty loves to build things that help you build more things. He has a computer science background with over 10 years of experience writing software for academia, industry, and startups. Currently residing in Baltimore, he has exchanged his car for a blue Brompton which he rides to and from the Baltimore Node hackerspace.
Help Us Make the BlinkyTape a Reality!
Our goal with this Kickstarter is to get these boards into the hands of 250 of our soon-to-be brightest friends. We've found manufacturing partners and have BOMs and test plans in hand, and with your support, we can bring the Blinkytape to life!
What Will You Make?
We're excited to see what you will make with them- so check out our backer rewards over here to find out how to get your own.
Thanks for reading and thanks for backing!
We love you guys!
Risks and challenges
We've spent the last four months in China working with LED suppliers and local manufacturers.
Armed with our working prototypes, detailed bill of materials, and a comprehensive test plan, we expect manufacturing to go smoothly.
We've built the BlinkyTape using reliable, readily available components, giving us enough flexibility and redundant options in our supply chain to work around any foreseeable problems with supply, manufacturing delays, packaging, fulfillment, etc.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The BlinkyTape designed to be powered and controlled from USB, so they're unfortunately not easy to daisy chain. The best way to control multiples of them at once is to connect them to a PC or miniature computer such as a Raspberry PI.
The BlinkyTape is enclosed in an IP67-rated silicone tube, so it can withstand exposure to water and even brief submersion. The USB connector on the end, however, requires a little more care. It should be shielded from direct contact with water, or wrapped to protect it from harsher elements.
The kind folks at Kickstarter have a rule against offering multiples of a reward, so unfortunately it's not possible for us to offer a reward level that includes multiple BlinkyTapes. Rest assured, however, that we're working on a plan for offering them after the Kickstarter rewards are shipped!
We are using RGB LEDs with built-in WS2811 controllers.
The trippy glasses have a diffraction grating in them, which make any light you see through them turn into a rainbow. They're great for LEDs because you get a rainbow from each individual LED element on the strip. We're working to have custom ones built, however this video shows the effects from a similar pair:
Support this project
- (30 days)