Everyware: Icebreaker development – LEDs & MQTT

In this post I will briefly outline my part in the creation of our wearable technology: The Icebreaker T-Shirt.

Prototyping: Single RGB LED

I started off by prototyping MQTT connections with a single RGB LED. I built a basic circuit and programmed it so that it would connect to the MQTT broker, and light up when data is received.

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NodeMCU & RGB LED

RGBW LED Strips

After this, we experimented with using RGBW LED strips. I wired up a circuit (using transistors to prevent burning out my controller board) and experimented with some code to create patterns.

After experimentation, it was apparent these strips were not composed of individually addressable LEDs, so turned out to not be appropriate for our usage.

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Wiring up the RGBW LED strip.

24 RGB LED Ring

Next we moved onto using a 24 LED ring. First, I soldered some pins into the ring for easy wiring. Later these could be removed and either directly soldered onto, or even potentially be connected to using conductive thread.

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24 LED ring with sample code.

I worked out how to individually address each LED and then used the code from the first single RGB LED to connect it to the MQTT broker.

After this, I setup basic reactions to each input to simulate what will happen once the database is properly connected; Left side lights up when a match is detected to the left .etc

Basic lighting effects/reactions include:

  • Ambient (No match/resting)
  • Match (Different colours for different matches) – Currently 3 max
  • Left – Left side lights up
  • Right – Right side lights up
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Wiring up my NodeMCU board to the LED ring. The circuit requires the use of capacitors to prevent damage to the LED ring. (Tape over LEDs is for diffusing)

The next steps are to create more visually appealing lighting effects & reactions (which I will work on over the next week) and to hook it up to the database via MQTT, which is being handled by my other team members.


 

Links

Adafruit Neopixel/Library: https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-neopixel-uberguide?view=all

 

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