On Sunday I graduated college! It’s always been a tradition for graduating students to decorate their graduation caps, and for mine I wanted to add a little EE flavor. I decided to add RGB LED strips to create an eye-catching pattern on top. Check it out in the video below:
Pretty cool right? Here’s how it works:
I taped Neopixel LED strips on the cardboard beneath the fabric of my graduation cap and can control them with an Arduino Uno, housed inside the cap beneath the cardboard. The Uno is a bit unwieldy – I would have much preferred to extract the microcontroller and put it on a small breadboard, but time constraints forced me to put the Arduino itself in the cap. The whole thing is powered by a portable USB battery pack sitting in my pocket, connected via a USB cable (which runs down my back and makes me look like a robot).
Here are some closeups of the internals.
Below is the Arduino code I’ve written for this project:
I’m proud of how configurable it is: it allows you to easily change the number of snakes moving around the hat, their lengths, and how fast they move via #defines at the top of the file.