Matt Katzenstein, an electrical engineering student at Union County College in New Jersey, has created his own personal disco light show that strobes to a beat. He created the gadget with a handful of components and some electroluminescent wire, also known has EL wire. He uses his Android smartphone as a source of music and then connects some EL wire with a few inexpensive components between the two. The result is lighted wire that pulses to the beat of the music. The same gadget can be connected to different sources of music and different lights.
I like this idea and think my grandson and granddaughter would like it, too. They're too young to have a cell phone, but we have lots of CDs around. Worth looking into, as long as I can buy some of the EL "wire."
I just checked for EL-wire suppliers and found many on Amazon that sell this product in a variety of colors and lengths for less than $10. Some of the packages include a power supply that takes AA or AAA batteries. Heck, I might even get some for my lab. Search Amazon for "electroluminescent wire," but without the quotes. Happy shopping.
I saw that, too, Jon, where Google points to places you can get incredibly inexpensive EL panels. It made me vaguely recall when EL panels were a big deal in the early 1970s, in Popular Electronics. That's what I thought and when I did a search, it turns out I was correct. Here's a 1984 EL panel patent, which references a 1971 Popular Electronics article on an El Panel Driver.
Interesting, Alex. I think GE produced EL night lights back in the '70's and they glued a penny to each cardboard package, because the company claimed it would only cost one cent to run the nightlight for a year. I haven't seen those night lights in years. The ones on the market now probably use LEDs. At night there's enough light from LEDs and vacuum fluorescent displays in our kitchen, family room, and bedrooms to make navigating easy. I wonder how much electricity these always-on displays and indicators waste.
There are people like me who love the peace and quiet. Maybe I could enjoy sounds without having them destroy my peace and quiet. You've got the beat and volume showing, now flash in the words with the proper "tone" showing. Then "sparkle" in some over/under tones. Interesting.
The 2015 Gadget Freak of the Year goes to the DDV-IP -- or, a Drink Deliver Vehicle – Inverted Pendulum. The gadget is a two-wheeled self-balancing robot that can deliver cold beverages to thirsty folks on a hot summer day. A wireless RF remote enables manual control of the device beyond the act of self-balancing. All of the features of the DDV-IP result in an effective delivery vehicle while providing entertainment to the users.
If you have a Gadget Freak project, we have a reader who wants to make it. And not only will you get your 15 minutes of fame on our website and social media channels, you will also receive $500 and be automatically entered into the 2015 Gadget Freak of the Year contest.
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