One of our more entertaining projects this spring has been the 2013 Red Bull Creation challenge, in which some of our team members and mentors took part. A collaborative project of our sponsor, Learning is for Everyone, the Red Bull Creation build provides yet another avenue of creative learning for people of all ages. This year’s challenge is called “Let There Be Light!” and the competition package included addressable LED strips and a custom circuit board. RBC teams had about six weeks to “create something awesome with light”, an open-ended enough challenge that resulted in a wide variety of entries.
Our build, which we called the “Spectrapiano” gave us an opportunity to play with different technology. Working with Paul Markun, our Super Mentor from Tampa Technik, we helped fabricate an acrylic “bubble wall” around which we fastened LED lights that were activated by the piano keys being played. Our new friend and mentor, Chuck Stephens, an accomplished and artistic jack of all trades, crafted the case for the whole thing.
The whole light show was controlled by an Arduino and a Raspberry Pi, two devices we hope to continue learning more about. We also learned some cringe inducing physics of water pressure in the thin tank, coupled as it was with a lot of electronics, including a Yamaha stage piano! TDT alumni and programming mentor, Chris Willingham, did most of the programming work, with friend and fellow FIRST alumni JR Weis. They archived the and some CAD concepts in a repository on GitHub , for anyone who wants to tinker around with his or her own Spectrapiano idea.
Extra points were awarded for publicly displaying a build, so we took our “Spectrapiano” to the Land O’Lakes Branch Library’s popular Teen Night, where over 200 people were in attendance. We took Sheldon along, too, so people could play with him.
Between a light up bubble piano, a robot and an all purpose game night, the evening was a huge success! You can see our Red Bull Creation build in action in the video.
Enjoy! And Stay Creative!