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  Hey, I know many of you were following the "Get Closer" challenge and I wanted to let you know that the tutorial for the FLORAbrella is now posted here on Adafruit's site. It's been a great experience writing up my directions and I'm so thankful that I took so many photos. Becky Stern and the folks at Adafruit had fun making the umbrella and even managed to simplify it by eliminating the need for a 3D printed handle -- they mounted a small button on the FLORA to make things easy. So, hav ...
Wow, it has been quite a project.  From my beginning research of unique umbrellas, to wiring individually addressable LED Neopixel strips and facing 3D printing – I’ve just learned so much.  Adafruit’s Forum has been outstanding, along with the support I’ve received from the Element 14 folks.  Anyway, I was going to shoot my video last night, but yesterday my dog had to have a sudden operation to remove a cancerous tumor.  This is Lucci, the amazing It ...
I decided to call this chapter circuit wizardry because it  takes magic and a little luck to make it happen.  The LED strips have three copper pads on the end, yet I needed to mount five wires on each one so I could keep the majority of the wiring close to the hub and out of sight.  So, that would be two wires attached to the ground, two wires for power and one for the communication line for each strip.  That's a lot of wires!  I finally had to take my whole project to m ...
So, I had to create a handle for my umbrella because I wanted to embed a switch into the bottom of it.  In order to do this, I had a couple of alternatives -- my first idea was wood, but it just didn't speak to the sci-fi part of me.  The second idea was LEGO's -- wouldn't that be awesome??  I downloaded their design software and started to make sketches, but I was having trouble accounting for a change of thickness inside the handle and getting the specific colors I wanted (clear ...
I think it is good to be honest about  the process, and not every day is filled with Neopixel rainbows.  Today I was working on hacking some code to make a nicer rain pattern -- one with random rain drops.  Currently the pattern is running backwards as if the rain is falling up.  So, I started working with some of the values to see if I could get it to rain down.  I had just started to make some headway when I bumped one of my LED strips, which was joined to another with ...
It's a busy time at my hackerspace right now, as MakerFaire NY is right around the corner.  However, I managed to squeeze in some quality time with the band saw tonight.  You know what I'm up to.... getting rid of that ugly curled handle, as promised!      My next move will be to test my momentary button that will control the different light patterns on the umbrella.  It's really cool looking and was a big motivation in sawing off the handle.  I hope it ...
I just returned from an exciting Open Hardware Summit in Boston.  It was great to meet so many other people jazzed about controllers and educational kits.  I brought some of my FLORA parts hoping that I would work on them, but instead, I toured a hardware startup called Bolt, hacked my badge and mingled with a ton of other women equally passionate about gadgets.  Oh yeah, and I finally got to meet Limor Fried of Adafruit fame!  Here's a pic of me, Limor, and one of my fave te ...
You may remember that I had an LED strip that I needed to separate, so I visited my hackerspace to venture into the desolder realm.   I set up at the solder station and followed the step-by-step instructions given on Adafruit's site.  Yes, I did promise a video, but given the amount of arm gymnastics needed, I'm afraid I couldn't come through with that.  I could have asked one of the guys, but it was open house night and I didn't want to discourage any fresh conversations wit ...
I'm still on the fence about whether to connect all eight LED strips through their communication line, or have them wired individually.  In the meantime, I decided to check out some Neopixel code to see what my options were.  Obviously that was fun!     So, although I'm able to hack this code somewhat, I'm still not clear about some of the INT values.  So, I don't think I can make a decision yet about connecting the communication lines.  It appears to be easie ...
I took all of my things to Cape May thinking I would do some coding tests with the individual Neopixels.  Between all the walking around and all the Victorian architecture, I never got to it.  I did get very inspired to someday create a lamp based on the Frank Furness gasolier I saw in the Physick house (only with LED's, of course).  Speaking of LED's,  I think Neopixel LED Strips are rather precious, so I've been sort of putting off cutting my 5m strip.  Afterall, it di ...
I just couldn't stand the Adafruit Neopixel LED Strip 30 sitting in its box any longer.  It looked so lonely and dark in there.  So, I decided to take the risk -- hook up the FLORA with the LiPo (2600 mAh) and strip. I was so scared a wire would overheat and I pictured all those old movies with the mad scientists pulling the big switch and big puffs of smoke everywhere, but I decided that Tesla and the others must have done their share of crash and burn.  My turn.   ...
Hi, I've been busy gathering ideas for my umbrella.  Here's the mighty beast -- a large dome umbrella with silver trim and a ginormous handle that's even too big for Mary Poppins.  I can tell you that no matter what size the power supply, the horrible crook will be getting removed!  Other than that, it is pretty darn cool. Speaking of power supply, the other night I involved two guys at my hackerspace in a friendly debate on powering 5m worth of neopixels.  The results were r ...
I've spent the last couple of days reading up on the Adafruit Neopixel RGB LED strips -- especially how to cut them apart and use them in combination.  The FLORA doesn't scare me as much as the strips LOL.  On the Adafruit forum, I've seen mixed responses on dealing with my set-up of sending multiple strips the same code.  One response is "fanning multiple strips from one pin is voodoo" and another is that "four strips should be able to run off one pin".  In my case I have ei ...
I was so excited to get home today to open my parts.  I honestly did not peek before recording!!  Spoiler Alert if you are in this challenge and have not yet received your box.   ...
Hey, I'm Leslie and I'm very psyched to be chosen for this challenge.  I've been inspired by science fiction my whole life.  While I'm a big fan of Star Wars, I also happen to love Bladerunner and Tron.  It just so happens that both of these films have beautiful umbrellas.  In Bladerunner the shaft and handle are illuminated in cool blue, while in Tron the clear umbrella is outlined in golden light and also has a center hub which illuminates or backlights the head of the hold ...