chipKIT Text-Message-Enabled Sign and Music Light Box (Man Cave Sign)



Using our DIY chipKIT-board tutorial, Darryl Gardner, a student of the University of South Florida, created something he calls the “Man Cave Sign” for his MakeCourse. This techie sign not only displays messages (via 5 LED dot matrices), reacts to playing music, and lights up in different colors (via 2 LED light strips), but is also controllable via Text Message or Android Apps (which he wrote) that allow the user to do many things like change the display message, control the stepper motor, the color of the light strips, and even make your phone talk out loud!

His PIC32BLUE(+) Android App and PIC32BTN Android App allow you to connect to your microcontroller using a Serial Bluetooth Module and do various things like send messages/commands to/from your Android phone and control things like servo motors, LED matrices, RGB lights, LCD screens or anything you’d like. He incorporates other technologies as well, like a microphone to adjust the light strip colors according to sound fluctuations in the room, a stepper motor to rotate a USF Bulls logo, and he powers it all with a 10,000mA battery for a battery life of over 10 hours.

In this Instructable, he provides more details along with a YouTube playlist of some Arduino tutorials he referenced for the project. Keep an eye out for more details on the various portions of this project! πŸ˜€

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CAN Hacking with chipKIT Max32 and OpenXC Platform

OpenXC chipKIT Vehicle Interface
The OpenXC chipKIT Vehicle Interface – There’s a chipKIT Max32 in that there CAN Vehicle Interface!

Have you ever wanted to hack your CAN (in-vehicle network)? Well, now you can — no pun intended πŸ˜› — and there are plenty of resources out there to help you. For starters, this Hackaday post provides an overview of the hardware available to you for “CAN hacking,” mentioning, among other tools, that you can use the chipKIT Max32 as your development platform!

What you might not know is that Ford Motor Company put together a combination of open-source hardware and software that function as an API for your car’s internal network, calling it the OpenXC platform. Worth noting is the inclusion of the chipKIT Max32 in their list of officially supported embedded platforms. The OpenXC chipKIT Vehicle Interface, which makes use of the chipKIT Max32, also incorporates a chipKIT Network Shield to send and receive OpenXC messages. With that said, why reinvent the wheel, when OpenXC provides instructions to DIY, and you can download the firmware from Github!

Now that you know how to hack your CAN, what are you waiting for?!? πŸ˜‰ This calls for endless customization of your vehicle interface! Go forth πŸ™‚

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