Introduction: Dot Matrix Intelligent Hand/bike Light. "the Matrix"

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This idea was in my mind for a time and one night two weeks ago with a short inspiration, I've started working on it. The LEDS nowadays are quite powerful and can do lots of lighting jobs. Well, they are fast and easily driveable by small electronics & microcontrollers. So I've planned to design and build an intelligent light, not only capable of lighting but also conveying messages, displaying animations and also do some more useful things like displaying temperature and doing timing etc.

Here is the product being powered on and switched to demo mode in which it displays all available running modes in sequence. There are additional videos also at the 7th step of the article.

Below is a video of all 4 prototypes singing together.

Step 1: Circuit Design

The system is powered by a pic 16F88 microcontroller. 5x5 dot matrix display is made from narrow beam 3mm leds.

it has 30 different modes, 14 continuous lighting with different power settings, 12 animations, 1 temperature measuring,1 timing modes and two audio modes

I started designing it on a simulation program first then made the real circuit on breadboards

Step 2: Deciding on the Design

Later I've worked on the design of the product itself. Made some 20+ sketches before starting to 3d model.
The blue one was my first model, on the sketch it was nice but I didn't like the looks of the model then tried the black one and went on trying, at last I've settled on the gray coloured design. Being long and slender with a small volume can be helpful for the product to be used for multi prposes.

Step 3: First Prototype

I have printed the design by using an UP printer. I have cut proper sized pcb prototype boards and assembled the circuit.
installed the circuit into the printed plastic case and started testing.

While working I continusly updated and improved the code with new ideas coming. Showing temperature was one of them. Drilled a hole at the bottom of the printed case to install the 18B20 temperature sensor. Later I have added a hole to the 3D model as well.

Step 4: Second Prototype

I have built the second prototype also on holed prototype boards by using smd components. It was a bit tough as the board size is approx 26mmx26mm. While and after building this one, I have also worked on the code to improve and add some more working modes and animations. I made some improvements at the design too, made the mode button bigger and improved some interior details.

first two protoype torches were built on prototyping board instead of pcb.

Step 5: Printed Circuit Board Design

Later the PCB design is made and 5 prototypes were ordered to be produced from a local manufacturer.

Step 6: Third Prototype

I have sanded the surface of the third prototype for better finish. By using the newly arrived pcb prototypes, the assembly got much neater and a bit easier(not easy enough, still).

With the third prototype, I have added some animations and functions to the design, here is the complete demo mode .

Step 7: Audio Amplifier

While building this prototype, an old project of mine came to my mind; the singing smiley and i quickly decided to use that project as a mode in this product. I have adapted the smiley's code piece into the light code. Later I have modified one of the animations (the vumeter) to use the sound input.

Sound input is sampled over an analog input of the pic 16f88 controller.

I have found and used a one transistor microphone amplifier from the net to amplify the condenser microphone signal to microprocessor voltage levels.

and the audio-animation result is something like this, the singing smiley.

This is the vumeter mode

and some of the animations and lighting modes of version 2 can be seen on this video

The code and the product details are %99 complete not much to change but there is still possibility for some mistakes to be found and corrected so to download the latest versions of hex and stl files, please give a visit to the dot matrix torch article on

Step 8: Accesories & Contribution

Then I have designed a part for mounting the light on bikes. It easily holds the product in place while riding and can easily be detached from the bike if a hand torch is needed. The handle of the torch can easily be tied to the bike for a more secure connection, preventing droppages in very harsh riding.

And finally you need to have a charger to run this thing. So I have converted a cellphone charger by modifying its socket to fit the torch's, added a led as a power display.

I am looking for a backer to further improve and sell this product and my other products. If you are that backer then contact me..

If you want to contribute to my project here is the link. I'm giving away matrix prototypes to contributors.

You can see some of my other designs on and articles on

STL file for this product's case is online now and can be downloaded. The pcb design, hex code etc will be online in a short time.

if you need similar product designs for commercial purposes, I can help.

Have fun and don't forget to rate and comment. Thanks.
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