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Interactive LED table

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Here is a guided instructable on how to make your own Interactive LED table using one of the kits from Evil Mad Sciencitst.
Here is a video of my final table in action in the dark, and a photo of what it looks like:


 
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Step 1: Choose your size, and Design a Table

Picture of Choose your size, and Design a Table
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Evil Mad Scientist offer 2 sizes for their table, a 6 panel kit and an 8 panel kit. Both of them can be configured in 3 different ways, so before you can start designing your table, you should choose which size you want to buy.

I choose the 6 panel kit, and this instructable will focus on that size. If you choose the 8 panel kit, you can still use this guide, just remember to change the measurements to your own.

Next make a rough sketch of how you want your table to look.

If you are good with Google Sketchup, I suggest you use that to get some nice 3-D views of it.

Step 2: Buy the lumber

After you've made your design, and measured out all the materials you need, time to take a trip (or two as in most cases with DIY, stuff), to Home Depot/Lowes, to get the wood.

I choose regular 1x4 pieces of pine for the legs, and 1x3 pieces for the tray to hold the LEDs.

Step 3: Put the legs together

Lay out the wood on the floor (or table), and make the marks for cuts. Cut them (use a miter saw, much, much more accurate then by hand), be sure to choose the nicer side of the wood for the top* (if you're staining it, if painting, it doesn't matter).

I'm doubling up the wood so that it looks better, that requires lots of cuts, and screws. Pre-drill the holes, and counter-sink the screws so that you don't see them.

Step 4: Fill in the holes

Picture of Fill in the holes
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After the legs are built, you should fill in the cracks and screw holes with wood filler.

I also used ran a router with a 1/4 inch half circle bit around the edges to smooth them off, and make them look nicer.

Then sand it, and repeat it until it is smooth enough for you (it is after all, your table).

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DIY-Guy3 years ago
Deadly Computer:
Nice instructions on building a table frame for the electronics. Good photographs and carpentry tips.

A quick Googling of the EMS site shows "DIY and open source hardware for art, education, and world domination."
http://evilmadscience.com/majors/46-tables

But no schematics? That is not open source. EMS sells very expensive boards.

IMHO, to claim open source for proprietary circuitry is just like the first name of the company- E.V.I.L.
Scucci DIY-Guy3 years ago
That's been my beef with EMS for a while now. "DIY" and "Open Source"... these LED sections (and most of their products) are neither. At least the tables USED to be DIY, but now they sell them pre-built?

If I had the money to get one of their sections... I'd quickly change that "open source" part around real fast.

I do know that it's "heart" is an LM324 quad-op amp. There is a thread on a Polish electronics forum where someone (ostry_18) has made a demo (with schematic) that works pretty much the same:



http://www.elektroda.pl/rtvforum/topic847444-150.html#6988956



I'm not really sure what's going on there at the output end, and I haven't gotten around to building anything yet to try it out. I know it doesn't work exactly like the original, and as far as I'm concerned, that's a good thing. If it doesn't work exactly like the original, then there is NOTHING stopping you from posting the schematics up and ACTUALLY making the thing open. If you want to build it and test it out (if you beat me to it), please post of a better version of the schematic you're using. I have a couple of things whipped up in Eagle, but I haven't tested anything yet so I don't want to post something that could damage parts because I missed a wire somewhere. ;p

Also, EMS has said that the trigger for the system is a SFH203FA photodiode.

So there should be enough there to build something, more or less, like the original.

I guess to get on topic, I like the layout of the table. As for the electronics part... there should be no electronics projects on Instructables without schematics. IMO it goes against what I think Instructables is all about.
You bring up several good points. However for those that have bought the LED panel (they are not cheap...), EMS includes a schematic of their circuit. They also request that you do not post it on the web as it is their design, they will determine when they will want to release it to the public. I will say that the design is very similar to their original table, and that the entire circuit is analog. No microchip or any program is required.

There are other open source LED tables that do use a micro-controller to achieve the same effect. With a micro-controller and a few sensors you could achieve numerous effects. For example it could be light, sound, or EMF sensitive. Not to mention you could show designs, scrolling text, the possibilities is endless!
bart416 Scucci2 years ago
Contrary to popular believe open source does not equal gratis.
DIY-Guy bart4162 years ago
Bart416: Never said I wanted the physical product for free, I was trying to buy nearly a thousand dollars worth of their "open source" products which had no schematics... thus no "source." *E*V*I*L* is still the opposite of truth and righteousness. (Bait-and-switch claims about a product being "open source" are not honest, take it up with EMS if you need to. I'm done with them, never going back.)
bart416 DIY-Guy2 years ago
Well, the term opensource is a pretty big argument :P

And don't feel bad about it. These LED products are usually very easy to make. Get a bag or reel of LEDs, microcontrollers, resistors and proximity sensors. Side bonus of building yourself is that you can use way more LEDs and SMD components meaning it'll be cheaper and you can add additional features. (It's nice to have a RS232 connector on these sort of things so you can control it with a computer as well). If you want to build one and you have trouble with something feel free to prod me.
DIY-Guy bart4162 years ago
Bart416:
I am encouraged by your offer to communicate. THAT IS WHAT OPENSOURCE SHOULD BE!  (Kind of like the old Ham radio days I think.)

Is it alright to start a sub-thread about circuit design concepts?
Assuming we want to detect movement in 4 directional grid pattern (X,Y, +-) and if LEDs are on, can we pulse them to determine which LED is getting a reflected signal from a moving hand? Or is there a better way to determine direction of movement for the triggering object?

Would this be a LED/receiver row and column matrix scanned across the entire unit? (That could limit the size to whatever is designed at the beginning.)
    OR-
Would this direction detection be done on a ... neighbor to neighbor process? I'm thinking of 4 signal lines going back and forth from each LED much like a square grid pattern. These could possibly use simpler circuitry and be modular in nature with no theoretical limit to the size or even physical configuration. Just stick boards next to each other and connect in any (grid based) pattern that fits the need.

Thanks.
P.S. Please feel free to suggest the correct terms as I do not have a degree.  :)
bart416 DIY-Guy2 years ago
Sorry for the late response.

First you should decide on the sensor if you really wish to go through with this. The TCND5000 looks promising as sensor for this sort of application. Adding a Z axis might be a bit tricky though. Though strictly speaking you could build your own setup using individual photodiodes/transistors and LEDs I guess.
DIY-Guy bart4162 years ago
Bart416- "Late" response? Nah! You're incredibly fast for this kind of discussion board. Thank you in the first place for continuing to talk on this subject.

I wonder if a Z axis sensor could be based on light intensity or shadow intensity?
I also wonder if a Sharp IR rangefinder type of sensor which uses a divided sender/receiver pair could be rigged with just an LED, a divider, and a photodiode?

Thanks again. :)
bart416 DIY-Guy2 years ago
Yes, if you use a photo-transistor you can throw a guess at the distance based on the intensity of the light. The current flowing through the collector is a function of the intensity of light the junction is exposed to. Though not strictly linear you could just throw a guess at it considering the fact that it won't be precise at all anyway.

Using those sensors themselves would push the cost quite high so that's not really an option. The IR sensors you're referring to work by detecting the angle. So sadly it's not simple to build such a system on your own without using cameras. There are a few other ways to do IR range finding but these are prohibitively expensive or cumbersome. Using sound for range finding on the other hand is a lot easier, BUT since you're using a table top it's a lot harder to do so without cutting holes in the surface..
Why not do away with the phototransistors altogether, and use the LEDs as sensors as well as emitters (see: http://www.thebox.myzen.co.uk/Workshop/LED_Sensing.html) that way, you can have a higher density, lower cost and a greater sensing resolution. There are afew 'ibles about this technique if you do a search.
amokoginta2 years ago
hello I Samsul from Indonesia. your work incredible variety of ways can you manufacture and the materials and components used schemes. if you can I'm very grateful. This e-mail me anjuxmokoginta@rocketmail.com
EsDorlion3 years ago
can anybody tell me the sensor type of this table. i made some researches and i reached that "active and passive near-infrared sensor". Is anybody has any information abot this table's sensors. i am trying the built one.
I don't think it matters... but don't take me wrong. For all I know it can blow up. (NOT XD)

MYTHBUSTERS!!!

Adam: 8D
Jamie: 8C
there are a few examples in the youtube with ir receiver and transmitter for sensor. i used pir (passive infrared sensors) but it doesnt have a good efficiency. Also Some of them use software to fade out the leds and some of them use opamps and combination of sensors to fade out the leds.

i will try it with ir receiver and transmitter sensor.
led display is great , and much useful
ohalpaul3 years ago
hi i have just ordered the 6 panel kit can't wait to get it . do you know if the sensor's work through frosted glass
junits154 years ago
how much does this whole thing cost?
Deadly Computer (author)  junits154 years ago
about $700 total, not including the man hours put in to building it.

if i were to sell the table, i'd list it at $2000, but i don't plan on selling it, so it's priceless.
How much did you pay for each panel? On their website they are listed about $100+, but reading some comments from years back they used to cost $55. How much current does your table draw? what is the power rating on the power supply you are using? I would very much like to build one myself. Your table looks awesome, some really professional looking craftsmanship!
 Righteous!
I love it!
mr panerai4 years ago
hi...im new here...
im very interested to make this cool stuff....that anyone has the schematic of this? i would be happy if any one here want to share it to me:)

tomz_eternity@yahoo.com
sekutu@hotmail.com

thankss
tkcheong614 years ago
How the LED arrangement in the PCB to become either wave or ripple? Thanks
chrismarois4 years ago
very nice. I am planning on getting these panels for another application. Where did you get that LED tester?
zorif5 years ago
this might help,for those looking for circuit. iam not sure will it work for he new board which can generate wave patterns.
zorif zorif5 years ago
pww5 years ago
This seems kind of spammy, like it's mostly designed to sell the interactive LED panel kits. The Instructable should include a schematic for the electronics. Otherwise, it's really just a "how to build a table" Instructable. I guess I would rather buy a table and make the electronics from scratch, rather than the other way around.
Phill6 years ago
Sadly; these are out of my price range currently - 400 dollars for a six panel kit. I wish they had smaller sets, for a hundred dollars or so - I only need something about as big as my mini fridge. =(
srhadaham Phill5 years ago
they offer all sorts of kits now, 1 2 4 6 8, white blue pre- assembled
i was looking into this as a help on the LEDs and such, but all you did was show us how to mount the thing on something you built - i plan on making a table like this but instead of 'light sensitive' im going to make it 'touch sensitive' so that when a drink or something gets set down, only the LEDs near the item will glow. (coasters, the remote, your feet _)
essentially that's what the LEDs on this table do
solid-state5 years ago
Is there a schematic you could post for this?? i'd like to look it over before going further.
Awesome!
It would be a more interesting light display if the glass was lightly frosted (better diffusion). I wonder if you could add any other color of LED to the table. Great job!
Deadly Computer (author)  javajunkie19765 years ago
when we clean the glass with our glass cleaner, it gives the same effect. I wanted clear glass because I wanted to see the boards, and leds and stuff. and you can put any color leds in you want.
djmeta45 years ago
do you have the schematic for the led boards?
Deadly Computer (author)  djmeta45 years ago
unfortunately no, sorry
ecctao5 years ago
LED displayI can do it better,
but I am not pride,bec I am a professional of LED display.
But if If some i can help you to do it I will be so pride about it.
alleyezonme6 years ago
Haha lol I'd like to see those college people beat that in two years!!!:D:D:D GREAT JOB!!!
sotsirh1946 years ago
this is soo cool. i really dont feel like spending the money or time on it
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