Christmas Magic Cube - How it got awesome!

Hey gang. On November 23, SoA had an awesome time at the TEDxRyersonU conference where we showed off our latest version of the Magic Cube, as well as the always enjoyable Lightseeds. I'll get some pictures up soon, and it's about time we did a proper write up on the design Magic Cubes with pics and video.

In any case, a couple days later Rose and I were thinking about adding a Christmas mode to Lightseeds. That remains a work in progress, but while thinking about it I jumped back over to Magic Cubes and quickly hacked out a Christmas themed colour-changing mode... reds, greens, whites all sparkling away.

The new mode's code is very simple, and very short. What was interesting to me was the quick progress, and the fact that it improved a tonne over about 20 minutes. Here's my breakdown of the three iterations...

Thursday Meet-Up

Thought we'd best run another meet-up this week. We're thinking Thursday, 4pm to around 7pm, KHE 229. Rather than run a specific session like the last Arduino Basics workshop, there's a certain amount of other stuff we need to get busy on.

For purposes of upcoming TEDx, we want to do some polishing on both the Lightseeds and the latest Rubiks Cube.


We want to lift the LEDs off the wooden strips, plane the strips to remove the "fuzz," and then paint the strips black. Then we need to remount the LEDS, probably with black electrical tape instead of the masking tape we'd been using. Should look pretty posh.

On the coding front, I'd also like to add an option to our etch-a-sketch mode that automatically colours the background.

Magic Cube:

We need to finish soldering the prototype. Currently there are a few LEDs that are malfunctioning.

We also need to work on the aluminum frame. Our initial attempts to epoxy it together didn't work so well, so time for a new approach.

On the coding front, we need to add in rotation transitions to make pushing the buttons smoothly rotate the lights, so the rotation sort of eases 90 degrees instead of immediately jumping 90 degrees. Basically this is matrix math, which is awesome.

So, let me know if you're able to come out. Plenty of coding and plenty of crafty stuff to go round.

Beyond that, I was hoping to get some people thinking about programming simple games. We'll discuss.

Hope to see many of you on Thursday. There may even be Halloween candy!

Mini Maker Faire Toronto

A fantastic, creative weekend at Mini Maker Faire. Simply an amazing collection of people, ideas, and energy.

We made many new friends and we look forward to some interesting opportunities arising as a result.

Rumour has it that Lightseeds and Magic Cubes will be back in public spaces come November, evolving as always. So, SoA friends, let us get back to learning and making...

Physics @ Maker Faire Toronto - Sept 21st and 22nd

Location: Wychwood Barns - 601 Christie Street

Following on the success of our amazing interactive Nuit Blanche 2012 installation, Light Seeds, Physics is once again taking our techno-artistic side out in public!

Coming up on September 21st and 22nd, Toronto hosts Mini Maker Faire. This is an exciting community event that brings together like-minded creators - engineers, scientists, artists, inventors - who all show off their work during this festival.

Magic Cubes - Let's get making!

Hi gang!

Magic Cubes prototype.

So, we've let the site linger a little since we wrapped up Nuit Blanche 2012's awesome Light Seeds effort. That's not to say we haven't been busy though. Rather, we've been quietly camped out in the lab working diligently on new stuff. And though we're taking a break from Nuit Blanche this year, what's caught our eye now is Mini Maker Faire Toronto, coming up on September 21-22, 2013. Get ready!

Winter through spring has been a busy time in 2013. We've had a great crew out as we struck up work on our next major project, Magic Cubes.

Magic Cubes are giant interactive Rubik's Cube-like creations built out of colour changing LEDs. Each Arduino-based cube has nine beautifully illuminated square tiles to each of six bright faces. Custom controllers with electronic sensors let audience participants get their hands dirty and play with the cube, rotating faces and planes, homing in on a colour coordinated win. Release your inner child, artist, geek! See if you can solve our take on the most classic of classic puzzles!

What else have we been up to? Among other things...

Rawan's got a nice little CT simulator well underway, built largely from a repurposed DVD drive.

Patrick and Karen have whipped up some amazing LED fashion accessories, to say nothing of infinity mirrors and ferro fluids.

Hazra and Rose added all new features to a Magic Cube, turning it into an impromptu Science Rendezvous polling station taking votes on who would win the Leafs-Bruins series.

And Luke did a miraculous refurbishment on our slightly decrepit Wimshurst Machine.

Suffice to say, time to get back to the lab and get making.

Some Video from Light Seeds

Nuit Blanche Wrap-Up Meeting!

Happening now! Be here. (khe 231a)


Debrief and check some pictures and vids from Nuit Blanche

Discuss our next moves.

Get some refreshments.



In the news!

The Eye Opener just posted a great article on Hye and Santiago's side project, the LED Cactus.

Nice work you two. So great to see our crew innovating and dreaming up ideas as we've gone along!

"Light Seeds" Arrives! Saturday September 29th.


Save that date. Stay tuned for a special Physics Department pre-reveal, coming soon!

If you're not already involved but would like to be, talk to Graham.


Subscribe to Ryerson Society of Awesome RSS