News: June 2021 – My projects for the HackadayPrize 2021

A few days ago the Hackaday Prize 2021 was announced. It became clear to me relatively quickly that I would like to try to submit a few of my projects again this year.

The schedule was pretty tight. I had already read in the comments under the article on the HackadayPrize that the deadlines for the individual “Challenges” were pretty tight.

This time the Hackaday team has come up with the following five “challenges” for the HackadayPrize:

  • Rethink Displays
  • Refresh Work-From-Home Life
  • Reimagine Supportive Tech
  • Redefine Robots
  • Reactivate Wildcard

The application periods for the individual challenges are “activated” one after the other. The application phase for the “Rethink Displays” Challenge is the first in the series and runs from May 18, 2021 to June 14, 2021. Pretty close if you first want to think about and implement a suitable project.

Conveniently, I’ve already worked on two projects in the past, which in my opinion fit exactly into the “Rethink Displays” challenge. I would like to introduce these to you in the following. 🙂

If you wanted to support me with these projects, I look forward to a like on the project logs on Hackaday.io. You can find the links here:


pxlDigit_24

The pxlDigit_24 is my implementation of a more modern 24-segment display. For this purpose, 24 WS2812 LEDs are installed on a circuit board behind a 3D-printed diffuser for each digit. The individual digits can then be used to represent numbers and letters.

In addition, an ESP32 can be installed on the board to control the connected digits. A display consisting of several pxlDigit_24 digits can then be programmed and supplied with energy via the integrated USB-C connection.

I had the “idea” for the pxlDigit_24 after I had built the “pxlDigit“. This is a seven segment digit that can be built up from a 3D printed frame and 14 WS2812 LEDs.

At the time, it bothered me that these seven-segment displays (of course) can only show numbers.

Why that bothered me: An ESP8266 or ESP32 is also built into the display, which, thanks to WiFi and Internet, could display all sorts of data. Somehow I found that it should be possible to display more data without losing the retro charm of those old display types.

Then, looking for a solution to this problem, I stumbled upon old 24-segment displays. With the help of 24 segments per digit, these can represent letters as well as numbers. So perfect to solve my “problem”. 🙂

If you would like to support me with this project, I am looking forward to a like on the hackaday.io project log: https://hackaday.io/project/180130-pxldigit24-retro-style-character-display

By the way, this project is also the “still secret” project which I mentioned in the following articles.

In the following you can see a few photos of the first prototype.

Of course, there are also a few initial hints about the internal structure. The construction article will of course also follow. 🙂


pxlBlck

The other project that I think fits the “Rethink Displays” challenge is the pxlBlck system, which I published here in December.

The pxlBlck is the basis for a home display system. The aim is to inconspicuously integrate displays into living spaces without attracting too much attention. As soon as the resident is to be informed of new information, the displays are activated and provide information using icons, scrolling texts or tones.

In this way, people with hearing impairments can also be informed visually via, for example, a doorbell, social media notifications (e.g. Whatsapp, Facebook, …), call notifications on mobile and landline networks and much more.

If you would like to support me with this project, I am looking forward to a like on the hackaday.io project log: https://hackaday.io/project/180023-pxlblck-an-unobtrusive-home-information-display

In addition to the current status, I would like to implement the following features.

  • Simplify structure:
    I would like to create an app so that the construction and, above all, the programming and configuration of the pxlBlck’s becomes easier. Everyone should be able to easily program and configure their pxBlck. Ideally, even without a computer.
  • Implementation of functions for people with impaired hearing:
    At this point I want to be honest that I didn’t aim for this use case from the start. But during the development I noticed that the pxlBlck’s can also be used as an optical notification device. Especially people with hearing impairments cannot hear the doorbell or the phone ringing, for example. A pixel block in each room or in special places could visually indicate these events. As an alternative to commercial systems, I would like to equip the pxlBlck system with these features.
  • GroupWare status indicator:
    Due to the corona pandemic, I (like many others) was confronted with the challenges of working from home. Online meetings quickly became part of everyday life and of course the day came when I sat in silence at my desk with the microphone activated and my girlfriend burst into the room. By the time I deactivated my microphone, my work colleagues had naturally heard the first sentences. Not a big problem in itself, of course, but later we joked that something like an “on-air” display could be useful to avoid such situations. A kind of tiny display that signals when you are in a meeting. Only later did I think: “Wait a minute, you can do something like that with the pxlBlcks. All you need is a bit of software that controls the pxlBlcks accordingly.” That’s why I want to make this possible. 🙂

WinDIY_2

After taking part in the HackadayPrize 2020 with WinDIY last year and even winning a prize, I was of course overjoyed. On the other hand, it bothered me that WinDIY hadn’t worked as planned.

I actually wanted to build a well-functioning wind turbine that anyone can replicate. WinDIY had not yet achieved this goal, which is why I decided to build a new version. You can see a few first impressions in the following articles and pictures.

If you would like to support me with this project, I am looking forward to a like on the hackaday.io project log:https://hackaday.io/project/179999-windiy2-horizontal-axis-wind-turbine


What do you think of the projects? Do you have any tips, ideas or suggestions? Then please leave me a comment. 🙂

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