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We love these two tiny LED display kits from Wayne & Layne LLC, also known as Adam Wolf and Matthew Beckler. But it’s driving us crazy that the brilliant hack they came up with for reprogramming the displays doesn’t have a snappy name yet. Please, tell us, what should we call it?

Here’s the technology: The Blinky Grid is a programmable LED matrix, 7×8, that displays any message or pixel art, and the Blinky POV is a tiny programmable persistence-of-vision LED display that you wave with your hand, creating the illusion of letters floating in air. So far, pretty normal. But when you want to reprogram the message, you don’t have to plug the Blinky into a computer — you just hold it up to your monitor or smartphone. Navigate your web browser to the Blinky Programmer website and type in your new message. The screen flashes the new message in binary and the Blinky’s onboard photosensors read the flashes — boom, you’re reprogrammed. Read more about it here.

MAKE Executive Editor Paul Spinrad and I were talking about how novel and smart (and fun) this hack is, and we think makers will love using it to program small devices. It’s open source, so anyone can build their own version. “If Adam and Matt had developed this at a big company,” Paul says, “it would probably be protected by a dozen patents.” We sell both kits in the Maker Shed, and we featured them in our MAKE Ultimate Kit Guide and our Make: Kit Reviews website. We want to keep spreading the word about this cool trick, but it needs a name. Smart Eye? Screenwashing? BlinkyVision? (Hey, that’s not so bad.)

Tell us what you think in the comments below, to be entered in a random drawing for a year’s subscription to MAKE and a brand-new MAKE T-shirt.

Keith Hammond

I’m projects editor of MAKE magazine.


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