Last night I met up with Andy and Colin of The Travelling Light Circus at MadLab to finally finish off some the LED strips that I've been working on for so long. The original plan was for them to be worn, which would have meant splitting the 4 20-LED strips connected to each strip driver in half, to allow for bending at knees and elbows. That would have meant doing an additional 32 joints, so when they said they'd come up with an alternative way of mounting the strips I was not at all unhappy :-)
Andy managed to source some translucent plastic tube that the strips slide neatly inside. The tube does two things, it protects the fairly fragile strip from damage and it also diffuses the light from the LEDs to increase the viewing angle and provide a nice glowy effect. Andy and Colin's plan was to mount a box to contain the strip driver on the hub of a bike wheel and to then attach the four tubes + LED strips to the wheel as if they were 'umbrella spokes' - the picture below makes the setup clear:
Will of TLC fabricated a really good mounting for the box, and the batteries and strips were simply attached to the bike wheel with cable ties. The wheel itself is mounted onto a large diameter aluminium pole, attached to the wheel where the gears would normally be. The really neat thing is that because Will used rear bike wheels he could keep the freewheel mechanism in place, so simply 'flicking' the aluminium pole sets the whole thing spinning. Of course having got them finished, we had to have a play :-) The first video was taken inside the MadLab building by Sam from Girl Geeks when we had the first wheel finished.
The second video is with two wheels and was taken outside MadLab on Edge Street, just across from the Common bar and we caused quite a commotion, with people coming out of the bar to see what we were up to. As you can see from the video, the patterns on both wheels are synchronised. The slightly wobbly video is because I was filming and operating the radio controller for the strips at the same time - you can hear the switch clicks on the audio as I'm changing the patterns. And I love the obligatory enthusiastic American on the video soundtrack - "Awesome!" :-)