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Review of 2020

Review of 2020 OK here we go… deep breath, and begin.  Well 2020 was a rollercoaster year that’s for sure. My original plans changed, and changed again; it actually feels like way longer than a year. Astonishingly I had one of my most successful years to date, and I ended up working on my biggest project so far : Laser Light City.  But it was a hard journey and an upsetting year and I had it way better than most. My fellow...

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My ongoing mission to replace fireworks

Anyone that knows me, knows that it’s my long-term goal to replace fireworks. (There are so many reasons that they’re problematic, but let’s save that for another post!) I’ve been making interactive digital fireworks since 2007, but it didn’t really get serious until I launched PixelPyros in 2012. The project has since travelled far and wide and incidentally, it was the reason I first started working with lasers- I added them...

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Controlling 7 segment LED displays on Raspberry Pi with Node.js

As part of the preparation for my upcoming workshops (last two tickets left!) , I’ve been working on writing Node.js code to drive various bits of hardware that are included in the free kit that comes with the course. So I’ve made my first ever npm package! And it drives cute LED displays running on the MAX7219 chip. In particular, there are two little LED displays that I really love. One is an 8 x 8 LED matrix, and the other is...

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Margate games: locating bullets with sound

I’ve been working on a system that uses microphones to locate where a bullet has hit the wall, so that I can make a digital firing range using lasers and Nerf guns. Since I posted last, I’ve been thinking more about the history of arcades, first with traditional manned side-shows, and then in the 80s with the advent of computer game arcades. I’m thinking that I could join all of these up to the present day – I’m planning on...