Monthly Archives: April 2016

a TiM Moodlight

via WyoLum Blog

dscn1798_26318788455_oA couple of weeks ago, I noticed a pair of old, first version TiM boards lying around at my local maker space, Maker’s Asylum and decided to put them to use by building a MoodLight. We love crazy names at WyoLum, and TiM is “The Intelligent Matrix”. We even tried building a controller for it called TiNA but it didn’t work out 🙂

dscn1788_26252600171_oTiM (The intelligent Matrix) is an array of 8×16 individually addressable 5050-WS2811 RGB “smart” pixels.  It is essentially 8 rows of 16 LED’s but with a very flexible connection scheme that allows you to control the whole array (128 LEDs) with a single pin or up to 10 boards (1280 pixels) chained together using 8 input pins. TiM boards can be linked together to create larger matrices. Stacking can be done in the vertical and horizontal orientations, and the pitch between individual LEDs is maintained when boards are stacked. Here’s the TiM User Guide.

dscn1793_26226395382_oI had two boards on hand, which I joined together to form a 16×16 matrix of 256 LEDs. TiM boards need an external controller, and I used an Arduino Clone that I designed for use at the Maker’s Asylum called MAPone (Maker’s Asylum Project #1). MoodLights require some form of user interaction, and I decided to use one push button (digital input) and one potentiometer (analog input). The whole thing is powered by a 5V wall wart.

dscn1799_26292824886_oFor the software, I tried some code I found on the web, but none of it did what I wanted – change modes by pressing the button, and change colors using the potentiometer. I can’t code if my life depended on it, so I chucked the problem at my go-to guys – Justin and Kevin. Justin is quick, like the Energizer bunny, and threw back code at me on the rebound. But it required using four potentiometer’s to control the colors. Since the HW was already wired up, I waited to see Kevin came up with something different, which he did. Nice code which allowed different modes to be selected by a button press. The first mode is the standard Rainbow colors from Adafruit’s StrandTest. Then, there’s a color changing mode, Breathing LEDs, Connection Machine (which looks something like Conway’s Game of Life), and finally a scrolling Text mode. This is enough to start with, and I’m sure if anyone at the Asylum wants to hack and dig in to the code, there’s a lot for them to play around with.

dscn1805_26363162042_oI designed the enclosure in OpenOffice Draw. A laser cut piece of MDF that wraps around the TiM PCB using some “living hinge” bends. I tried some junked 3mm MDF first, but the material was kinda bad – some parts cut well, while other areas were left with a charred and burnt top layer, so I had to scrap that. Next, I tried 5mm MDF that way lying around, and while it cut well, it was a tad thicker than I preferred and the hinges were stiffer being designed for thinner 3mm MDF. Anyhow, it worked and I was keen on just finishing this off. I also cut an additional square piece of 2mm white polypropylene sheet for the front diffuser. Most of the electronics was stuck in place using generous globs of hot glue. I added some hand drawn graphics to wrap it off, and left it at the asylum. Let’s see how they mount it up.

Here’s a video walk through of the MoodLight.

EDIT : Here’s a better walk through of the code by Kevin Osborn

MoodLight for TiM (The Intelligent Matrix)

Introducing a New Distributive Enterprise: Grain-Free Eggs and Aquaponic Greens

via Open Source Ecology

This year, OSE is developing the concept of the Distributive Enterprise. You can read more about it here, but in a nutshell it’s a business that’s designed to be replicated by others. It open sources not just its technologies, but also its business model, operations manuals and marketing materials, with the goal of creating an ecosystem of similar enterprises cooperating as a sort of bottom-up, decentralized franchise. As a 2016 Distributive Enterprise Fellow, I’ll be one of the first guinea pigs for the program, working on an agricultural business that centers around a grain-free egg flock and an aquaponic greens system here at Factor e Farm. This overview is the first in a weekly series of blog posts about the project. The Big Picture The main aim of my time here is to test three ideas that are central to the Distributive Enterprise model: 1. The Cascade of Enterprises Can a new Distributive Enterprise generate enough revenue in its first year to seed another one? In this case, I’m assisting with the 3D Printer Workshop Enterprise, which will provide some of the capital to fund the farm start-up. If we can make this concept work, each Distributive Enterprise can cascade into a number of others, and the exponential growth of open source businesses that are independent but complementary can challenge the massive, centralized behemoths of the existing industrial system. 2. Zero to Hero Can open source collaboration allow a novice to access advice from experts, helping to accelerate learning and avoid missteps? Years of training and trial-and-error can be saved with a few words from someone who’s already been there and done it, and OSE has shown that Subject Matter Experts will contribute to open development efforts. My agricultural experience is limited to a few small market garden projects: I’ve never used an aquaponics system or looked after more than four chickens. So we’ll be contacting farmers and other experts to make sure we avoid needless mistakes – and we’ll be publishing our interactions with them so others can benefit too. Check out our first interview with Geoff Lawton for an example of this. 3. Viral Replicability Marcin has written a lot about this concept here, but essentially the idea is to actively encourage others to adopt any business model that we’ve proven successful. This means it doesn’t just benefit us, but allows people anywhere to start up tested regenerative enterprises, remaking their local economies and liberating their own working lives. So we’ll be designing the business with replication in mind, publishing exhaustive documentation and actively assisting others who want to start something similar. The Enterprise This year’s farm business has three main parts:
1. The Low-Cost No-Grain Compost-Powered Open Source Egg Farm Compost SystemBuilding on the work of compost connoisseur Karl Hammer and permaculture educator Geoff Lawton, we’ll be testing whether a small farm can run a profitable egg enterprise by feeding chickens on local food wastes, producing compost as a by-product. Details of the system will be published here.
2. The Open Source Incubator OS IncubatorTo help lower the barriers to entry into small-scale egg-raising, we’re developing a low-cost incubator that can hatch 100 chicks a week. This will help us and other farmers to avoid the cost and ethical concerns of buying from mass-production hatcheries and to rebuild the diversity and vigor of egg flocks through localized selective breeding. And as an open source tool, it offers the possibility of another Distributive Enterprise manufacturing incubators. Details here.
3. Aquaponics Greens Aquaponic GreenhouseOne of OSE’s big success stories of 2015 was the construction of the Modular Aquaponics Greenhouse. This year we’ll be testing the setup under commercial conditions by producing greens and vegetables for sale locally. Production details will be published here.
Join in We’d like this to be a collaborative effort: if you’re a farmer, egg flockster, aquaponic grower or DIY-incubator-genius with advice to offer we’d love to hear from you. If you think you might want to replicate this enterprise or just want to follow along, the links below will take you to all the information we’ll be publishing, and stay tuned for on-site training opportunities later in the year.
How to stay informed on this project: Follow this blog My log on the OSE Wiki Compost Chicken System wiki page Open Source Incubator wiki page Aquaponics Greenhouse wiki page The 2016 Agriculture Webinar Series OSE Facebook 2016 Agriculture Photo Gallery Working Document Repository (contains works-in-progress in various states of chaos – for final documentation refer to development spreadsheets on the wiki pages linked to above).