Interactive String LED Floor Mandala at ...

Dave Hrynkiw
June 1, 2017

Because... of things... Solarbotics didn't do a booth or official presence at this year's Bay Area MakerFaire. We opted to do something fun this time, building a custom just-for-the-fair piece of sorta-interactive LED artwork. Following on the success of the quickie LED floor mandala resting area we did at the NYC MF, we turned it up to 11 for the Bay area, making a WiFi-enabled version of the same thing.

Here's the technical detail on what we did:

The project is based on a modified "Double Rainbow" controller, with the Ardweeny brains replaced by a ESP-12. We set up the three major axis as "always on", with six zones controlled by the controller for animations. We advertised the WiFi SSID point and the URL for people to login to select one of the 6 animations available.

Dan set us up a nice 10' layout cord to speed layout of the major axis:


The franken-Double-Rainbow merged with the ESP-12F.

Setup at the Faire grounds, with our co-founder & CFO, Cheryl. The darkroom (Expo hall..2?) has a very hard rubber floor, so installing them directly to the floor would have turned the LEDs to dust with all the foot traffic. It took us 2 hours and some negotiating to find a 12'x20' carpet at a local Home Depot to mount the piece.

Floor Mandala in full operation! We had zero complications with the piece, other than the WiFi point saturating and not allowing us to login ourselves. Nothing a quick reboot didn't fix.

Sunday, and the lights have just come up at the Maker Faire. Cheryl, Alan Yates, and Elizabeth (sales coordinator extraordinaire) and two other tired attendees are getting ready to wrap up.

Peel up the art and signage, and you get ...more art! Remember, this was brand new (end-of-roll) carpet. That's what several thousand dirty feet can do to a carpet over a long weekend.

Interesting thing about going from a static LED display (in NYC) to a dynamic display is people (especially children) were interacting with it as if their footsteps were making things happen. Huh. We didn't expect that. I suppose the most natural interaction with blinky lights is to turn them on and off physically (not via your cell phone). Lesson learned for next time!


December 11, 2003
New Solarbotics Website

Welcome to the new Solarbotics Website! You'll notice some substantial upgrades. We're on our own server, which means very quick and speedy surfing. The website is also totally re-written from scratch. This is a double-edge sword, as this means we're still working on re-porting over older documents, like the BEP applications. Look! A search button! […]

September 3, 2014
Wednesday Links: Galaxies, BeatBlox and ...

Here's a new portion of links to brighten the otherwise unremarkable day. Beat Blox A simple and elegant way to visualize sound and tangibly control it. (Via Creative Applications) Heart Bot Drawn with sound, vibration, sunlight, now draw with heartbeat! Now that's how it's supposed to be. (Via Designboom) New map shows where the Milky […]

November 23, 2003
GM10 Modifications

Grant has taken some time to document how to turn a standard 81:1 GM10 pager gear motor and turn it into a 9:1 version. Why would you want to do that? You tell me - I'd love to know what project you build with a speed demon like that! Read More...

October 8, 2007
Austin Maker Faire - we'll be there!

...Well, sorta. We won't have a full booth like we have in past faires, but that's because Austin is sooo far away, and it's not easy to bring all our gear down that far. So we'll be down there assisting in the Maker Store. Feel free to stop by and say hi! We'll be near […]

1 2 3 253
Solarbotics Ltd Logo
Solarbotics has been operating for more than 25 years, bringing electronics know-how and supplies to both the electronics professional and hobbyist. We'll be happy to help you too!

Solarbotics, Ltd. is not responsible for misprints or errors on product prices or information. For more information, please see our Terms and Conditions.

Warning: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.
Please visit for more information. This item was manufactured prior to August 31, 2018.

Copyright © 2024 Solarbotics Ltd. All Rights Reserved