Galileo's Finger - project update

FYI - I've taken the Galileo Finger gizmo back to my home shop for
some updates, in case anyone noticed it is not on the base table at
the hive.

Tye provided some good insights and inputs at last Tuesday's meeting
on the next stage LED lighting. The following is a updated
description of the intent for those interested to follow along.

Although the whole thing is six-sided and omni-directional, the new
focus is to start with three-sided, front-facing implementation. If/
when we display it at a show or event, it will have a front-facing
mode anyway.

An initial set of three front-facing sonic sensors will input into a
boarduino that will output/
drive multiple red/green/blue LEDs. We're thinking to adapt the
AD5206 digital pot tutorial and use SPI protocol to be able to
individually address and drive 6x3 RGB LED states, based on bystander
approach and Woo-Hoo mode
Actually, each of the eighteen color output states will be run to
three parallel LEDs as three rings of six LEDs (eighteen total) at
top, middle, and bottom levels inside the guts of the gizmo. The
multiple LEDs with the combination of mirror and glass surfaces inside
should be visually busy in operation. A schematic and picture are
being developed as a better explanation. We'll likely use the 5 volts
off a salvaged ATX power supply as the source for it all.

In conversations, everyone always asks about sound. We're up for that
too. Early investigations point in a couple areas,
or What's everyone's
inputs? Do you like this or have another idea?


Sounds awesome!

I have not played with either sound option although I have really wanted to mess with the SpeakJet. I saw it on sparkfun awhile ago and thought it would be fun to play with. I can’t vouch for either tho.

Can’t wait to see the finished project!


I've been itching to build a plasma speaker. I think it would be a
perfect addition to the finger. Great for treble, horrible for bass.
-Dave B.

Wow! So (obviously) with this setup there is no conventional speaker cone and instead the sound is emitted directly from the plasma arc? That is way too cool.

So we could have the sonic range sensors “troll” for innocent passerbys that notice and are first attracted by the quick flash and then extended 5-second delay of the red, green.or blue LEDs’ blink rate. As they approach from the red, green, or blue direction the sonic range sensors and arduino sense the closing distance and decrease the delays causing a more rapid red, green, and/or blue blink rate as the kiosk starts to get excited. When they get close enough to look inside, the LEDs all go into high blink rate random “WooHoo” mode AND THE GIZMO STRIKES A PLASMA ARC INSIDE THE GLASS CONTAINER THAT EMITS SOME KIND OF CANNED SOUNDS. THAT ROCKS!

I guess we could even drive changing the plasma arc sound interactively based on the observer choosing to wave his hand in front of either the red, green, or blue sonic distance sensor kinda like a Theremin?

It looks wicked, but would the plasma be “contained” inside the glass housing? Will the sound volume be loud enough? Did you see the YouTube used an ice bath for cooling? That feature is doable, but not too practical. The wikipedia link also mentions needing helium as an ionizing gas and that it produces ozone. There is a brass framing around the glass panels, so would that be dangerously conductive or safe like a Faraday cage? Arcs and sparks will make a great effect as long as it will be safe for a general public environment.

Let’s keep this discussion going. I am working out the spacing and selection of glass and mirror panels and the location and wiring for the LEDs inside the bubble this weekend. I’ll try to publish some drawings and photos so we can work out how things may fit.

Reply with any questions or comments…