Earlier this week I was glancing over all our existing Weekend Projects to take some notes, and found myself asking, “What do these projects have in common?” I then found myself juxtaposing images from each project to do a quick visual compare-and-contrast. Clockwise from the top-right, that’s Floating Glow Display, Electronic Whack-a-Mole Game, USB Webcam Microscope, and Add Volume, Jack.
I quickly realized what Add Volume, Jack was missing that the other projects had: LEDs! In Floating Glow Display, a single LED is the source of light for a low-light display sign. In Whack-a-Mole multiples LEDs replace their invertebrate counterpart, and you must “whack” a nearby touch-sensor to turn off the LED (it will pop up again later!). And for our USB Webcam hack, we replaced the battery-powered incandescent bulb in the scope with a USB-powered LED, like the Floating Glow Display the LED is our primary source of light to see what is happening.
However our intro to circuit bending project, Add Volume, Jack, lacked the LED love the other projects intrinsically need to function. So I’m issuing a challenge to all Weekend Project makers: to integrate a single or series of LEDs into your circuit bending toy! The LEDs could simply be aesthetic and decorative, or they could somehow relate to the function and interaction with the toy (I’m thinking they blink every time a certain key is pressed).
And wherever LEDs are involved, resistors should be, too. If you’re looking to brush up, or want a dedicated resistor calculator, and happen to have an iPad, you should consider the Circuit Sidekick app which we recently reported on.
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More: See all of the RadioShack Weekend Projects posts (to date)