Electric Window 3.01

18 January 2010

December ’09 was a busy month!   I made a lot of progress on my “Electric Window” light series, both developing it as a platform and getting a handful out there into peoples’ collections.

A big move was finalizing the framework for the 3.xx series, by reducing the “Electric Window (iii)” design from two screens to one:

In an effort to standardize “editions” of my lighting fixtures, the “Electric Window 3.xx” series is based around one or more 24 x 16 pixel displays, in a small enclosure of some sort.  While the hardware design will remain fairly constant, the software and enclosures will vary.  The pattern shown above is an autonomous drawing program, like an electronic Etch-a-Sketch on auto-pilot.

[ build details after the break ]

Other patterns are based on randomly filling the screen with various sized shapes or lines, then randomly emptying the screen again.

Dots:

Squares:

Bigger squares:

. . . and so on.

Of course there’s lots of other content, including Space Invaders :)

I’m constantly developing new content for these screens, so some new video documentation is overdue.

As the original “Electric Window (iii)” incorporated a wireless weather sensor, I’m planning to add sensors to the “Electric Window 3.xx” series for sensor-driven content as well.

Before going any further regarding what’s to come, let’s take a look at the current state of the hardware.

Here’s a pic of the simplest circuit needed to drive the screen, mounted on the inside of the frame’s back panel — after wrestling with the annoying black foam that comes with the frames when I purchase them:

The circuit is simply an Arduino-enabled microprocessor and the necessary support components (osciallator and capacitors), and a connector for interfacing with the screen.

I’ll admit it’s not the prettiest arrangement, and I’m torn between using/modifying the frame backs as they come, and living with ugly results, or fabricating my own back panels for an aesthetic advantage.  Making my own back panels would look better, but produce more waste as I’d simply be chucking out the original panels that come w/ the frames.  So which is more important: reducing waste or making the inside of these pieces look better?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments . . . Of course this is a moot point for enclosures I build from scratch.

After the circuit board is mounted, the screen is mounted above it and the power cables are routed:

It just fits! Below you can see the connector snuggly stuck between the two boards:

cifo, who’s also working w/ these screens, has a great solution in building the screen connectors right onto his controller board so it attaches directly to the screen.  You can see a pic of this here; definately an option I want to explore, along w/ standardizing the circuit design so I can have circuit boards professionally fabricated.

The finishing touch is the individually numbered label to mark the piece’s place in the series:

As I develop new content, I’m also working on a content-updating system that will easily allow owners of my light pieces to upload new software as it becomes available . . . more on that as I iron out the details.  In the meantime, I’d love to hear your comments regarding the ability of owners to update content of these device to extend their function and amusement.

Comments (1) | Tags: , , , , , | More: Blog

One Response to “Electric Window 3.01”

  1. ao says:

    Electric Windows are now available for purchase in my Etsy shop: http://andrewomalley.etsy.com

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