For my first Hackathon project I wanted to modify a Lava lamp so that the colors inside would change and could be reprogrammed to whatever pattern I wanted. To do this I decided to use Neopixels, a programmable light strand that can run off an Arduino and are small enough to fit in the structure of an already manufactured lava lamp. I wanted to see how close I could get to the ideal product using only the pieces of a lava lamp, a strand of neopixels, and what the HackBerry lab had to offer.
Arduino IDE software
Step 1: Code
For Version 1 of this prototype, I used the Neopixel test code from the Arduino IDE as the program for my neopixels; however, this program allows you to code in whatever pattern you want for your lights. For a potential version 2, Id like to see about linking the neopixels to a speaker to sync light movements with music.
Be careful when soldering your neopixels to your Arduino so as not to fry the board!
Also take care of your tools and make sure not to break them in a rush!
Step 2: Structure/Assembly
My method for constructing this lamp necessitated the repurposing of already existing pieces of the lamp itself. The first difficulty I encountered was the need for space to insert my Arduino and run the Neopixels, to do this, I used a drill to put holes in the bottom of the lamp and pliers to remove the bottom plate, which also housed the original bulb and wiring. All of which I removed, opting to use the wire hole for my power cable, which needed enlarging in order to fit the USB cable. I also used the metal cap from the lamp as a means of housing the neopixels so they all coiled up properly under the liquid bottle.
Step 3: Light
Success! With only minutes to spare
Future improvements will feature a more complex code for the neopixels, a cleaner design for the lamp structure, and improvements to the biggest problem, which is the bottle containing the wax and fluid "lava".