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Hardware Hacking

DIY LED-Illuminated Sleep Chamber 333

Bulldozer2003 writes "'Finally something both nerdy AND sexy engineers can do.' It sounds like an oxymoron but this guy took a cue from The Vos Pad and decked out his own dorm room bed with Light Emitting Diodes. They're even fully adjustable 'allowing me to create every color of the rainbow.' Total cost, according to him in an email: 'Around $25, the LEDs cost me about $0.25 a piece in bulk, and the potentiometers cost about $6 a piece from digikey. I got the LM317 voltage regulators as a free sample from Texas Instruments. Lots of companies will ship you free samples, its a good deal for college students.'"
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DIY LED-Illuminated Sleep Chamber

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  • by truesaer ( 135079 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @04:42AM (#10818221) Homepage
    ...guaranteed to be sex free, no doubt!
  • DIY psychonautics without chemistry?
  • by hwoolery ( 443338 ) <> on Monday November 15, 2004 @04:47AM (#10818236) Homepage
    Step 1: Light up dorm room with ludicrous light display.

    Step 2: ...

    Step 3: Women!
    • Step 2 (Score:5, Funny)

      by Polarism ( 736984 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @05:04AM (#10818283)
      Plastic Surgery!
      • Re:Step 2 (Score:2, Funny)

        by blixel ( 158224 )
        Plastic Surgery!

        Something I wrote a couple of years back.

        To the tune of Blurry [] by Puddle of Mudd.

        (Still a work in progress)

        My wife is mostly plastic
        everything's so fake
        Her tits are full of saline
        now they are in perfect place
        Filled her lips with fat
        They sucked out of her thighs
        Her teeth were stained and yellow
        but now they are pure white

        If only I had said no
        to plastic surgery
        I would still be with you
        and you'd still be with me
        I use to be your world
        I use to be your man
        But now I'm just this guy
        who pays for
        • I hope someone rapes you so I can have a laugh. (Score:2, Funny)

          Classy, real classy. Gotta love Slashdot.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Step 2: Tell women about your groovy pot [] stash and invite them back to frob the big knob.

  • Reminds me... (Score:5, Informative)

    by flatface ( 611167 ) * on Monday November 15, 2004 @04:48AM (#10818242)
    Reminds me a lot of this guy's [] projects. He made some damn cool things out of LEDs there, complete with howtos.
  • by Neo-Rio-101 ( 700494 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @04:49AM (#10818245)
    "Why should I go to a club when I can stay at home, avoid long queues, drink cheaper alcohol, set up my own light show, and have the chance to choose your own music?"


    • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @07:22AM (#10818619) Homepage
      actually, I did this in the theatre room in the basement for my daughter. spent less than $1000.00 and got enough club effects lights to make it look exactly like a dance club, espically with a xmms vis running on the 10 foot screen.

      It's great, the kids all want to come here, I know where she is and I know that there is no booze or other naughty things going on.

      (OMFG! I am opressing my daughters right to illegally drink, do drugs and have sex! I am so fricking evil!!)

      I remember being a teen, and if my parents made the basement cool at home I would have spent more time there instead of other people's parties.
      • (OMFG! I am opressing my daughters right to illegally drink, do drugs and have sex! I am so fricking evil!!)

        It's okay. The first step is to admit you have a problem. It'll be painful, but now you're on your way to recovery.
      • OMFG! I am opressing my daughters right to illegally drink, do drugs and have sex! I am so fricking evil!!

        Sex and alcohol are just things that teenagers do you think that the hormones are made to be repressed? And yes, I intentionally skimmed over drugs, because I happen to agree with you there.
  • And we rate it... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cold fjord ( 826450 )

    Great for parties... wouldn't want to live there.
  • by JaJ_D ( 652372 )
    Looking at the guy's facebook [] site, "sexy engineer" is the last ajective I'd use

    Apparently Huggy Bear has ordered one!

    "Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should." - Ian Malcolm (Jurassic park)

  • HTTPS? (Score:5, Funny)

    by nick0909 ( 721613 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @04:57AM (#10818264)
    Are they trying to shoot themselves in the head by using HTTPS?
    • Re:HTTPS? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Al Dimond ( 792444 )
      As a U of I student myself, I wonder the same thing. The whole "netfiles" WebDAV system (which replaced the good ol' unix accounts we used to have) is all https, even for webpages.

      This means that if you have image references on your webpages to external sites web browsers bitch about having some secure and some non-secure elements on a page, for one thing.

      But, in short, yes, we at the U of I are trying to shoot ourselves in the head with this, just as we're shooting ourselves in the head with our new web
      • We here at UNOmaha [] are also using the WebDAV shite. And you can bet sure as hell Firefox can't use it. So if you want your netfiles, gotta use Explorer. I like having a folder I can get anywhere, but there are better ways.

        Fortunately for us, we've been using web-based registration since I've been here in 2002, and it works quite well.
    • Exactly what I thought. A great way to keep from gaining any benefit from caching proxy servers.
  • by sexysciencegirl ( 829001 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @05:01AM (#10818277) Homepage
    and it still is, take my word as a girl for it :-)
  • by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @05:01AM (#10818278)
    got this for that guy's page...
    This page contains both secure and nonsecure items

    Do you want to display the nonsecure items

    Clicking on no has no major effect that I can discern except for the guy's last box where the "Get Firefox!" icon/image is missing...

  • Haiku (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ligur ( 453963 ) <ligur,jakin&gmail,com> on Monday November 15, 2004 @05:14AM (#10818313)
    Man who lights his bed
    with a multicoloured led
    will never get head
  • by Vladan ( 829136 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @05:16AM (#10818316)
    So this light display -- it's like a warning beacon of sorts, right? A light house, if you will, to warn the woman that the sexy guy she met at the club is an engineer and it's time to start preparing her excuses and leave, lest she crash against the inexperienced rock of his virginity.
  • Samples (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vectra14 ( 470008 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @05:17AM (#10818318)
    The fact that the writeup included the bit about samples is really kinda dumb. Moderation is key. Samples are great but if every idiot starts sampling everything (which i'm sure will be a side effect of the present article) companies will stop sampling or make it more difficult.

    in general, the state of slashdot is shameful these days. i dont have a solution (aside from simple obvious things like submission moderation, etc)... maybe i've just changed enough that it isnt the place for me anymore. which is a shame. cause from my POV slashdot aspires to be about Cool Things. the latest microsoft bug isnt a cool thing. it isnt news. (to adapt what John Stewart said about a transmission from Hussein).

    and all of this Geek Nerd etc shit. I think the US population is nuts about trying to group people (including themselves!) into groups of like scales. I havent seen anything like it anywhere else (i live in US and have lived in other places).

    anyway what was i gonna say? oh yeah:
    to anyone who reads it - if you sample, please, PLEASE sample in moderation so that people that actually build prototypes and such (like *this) continue to have this wonderful resourse availible.
    • Re:Samples (Score:4, Informative)

      by Lisandro ( 799651 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @05:45AM (#10818403)
      Actually, most semiconductor companies are very liberal when it comes to sampling. TI, for once, ships three samples of almost anything on their catalog, to anywhere over the world, as long as you fill some personal info and state what are you intending to do with the devices (or atleast they used to). They once shipped me a very high quality opamp IC that i turned into a beautiful headphone amp. I can't recall the price, but it's surely wasn't cheap, if not unavaiable.
      Maxim does the same, and i got from them a couple of LCD display drivers that would've costed me a sum here in South America.

      Of course, they don't want the service to be abused. But for them it's a neat way to do advertising amongst designers (i sure regard both companies better after that) for cheap. Anwyay, 90% has no use for electronic parts anyway, it's not like it's free T-shirts.
    • Re:Samples (Score:4, Funny)

      by Ghostgate ( 800445 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @07:22AM (#10818622)
      Samples are great but if every idiot starts sampling everything

      Every idiot already does. I mean, just listen to the radio. ;)
  • agh (Score:5, Funny)

    by miseryinmotion ( 615385 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @05:23AM (#10818339) Homepage
    I bet his roomate absolutely hates him
  • by falzer ( 224563 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @05:35AM (#10818377)
    25$ for 50,000 hours worth of birth control. What a bargain!
  • what a dork (Score:5, Funny)

    by Britz ( 170620 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @05:36AM (#10818384)
    what a dork: /imagep ages/image1.html
    what a girl: /imagep ages/image11.html
    what a dork? /imagep ages/image4.html
  • 'Finally something both nerdy AND sexy engineers can do.'

    There may be plenty of nerdy engineers out there, but everybody knows there's no such thing as a sexy one...
  • by DJCF ( 805487 ) <stormsaber@gmail.cEULERom minus math_god> on Monday November 15, 2004 @06:27AM (#10818485) Homepage Journal
    Ok, I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna post a "what the hell is this place comming too" post. Jesus, here's some guy who has done a rather awesome thing. Can we please just admire it for what it is without all the name calling? Jesus the tagline is "news for NERDS" - basicly everyone here so can we just stop it with the cheapshots and one-liners? And please, no more smart areses talking about getting laid. With that attitude you never will.

    For those who were seriously interested in this project can I refer you to the link a fellow poster posted: it s more interesting [].
  • not my cup of tea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 15, 2004 @06:43AM (#10818521)
    Sex by any kind of electric light just does not work for me. Gotta be candles, I'm afraid.
  • Not bad but... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Len Budney ( 787422 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @07:12AM (#10818592)

    Interesting! This guy's project basically connects a dimmer switch each to red, green and blue LED strings. The colors sorta mix, sorta producing colored light, but as you can see in his pictures there are major fringing effects (multicolored bands of light). The howto on this page [], suggested by another poster, gives a much cleaner result.

    The link above uses a microcontroller and pulse-width modulation to vary each color's intensity, producing a much more even color effect.

    Now, of course, I want to redo the apartment with them. Eternal lighting with no more power consumption than a couple of flashlights...yum...

    • Re:Not bad but... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Bishop ( 4500 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @10:00AM (#10819351)
      For LED control pulse width modulation is the proper way to do it. A dimmer switch is a poor hack, as LEDs are really only on or off. There is very little in between.

      You can also make a quick adjustable PWM controller with a 555, a potentiometer, and a comparator like an LM111. (and a few caps, and other resistors) Hook up a 555 in ocsilator mode. Aim for a frequency faster then 120Hz. I would start with 1kHz and see what it looked like. That might be too fast for the LEDs to properly turn off. Connect one input of the comparator to the RC circuit on the 555. Connect the other imput to the sweeper pin on the pot. Connect the pot between Vcc and ground. Adjusting the pot will change the duty cycle of the comparator output from 0% to 100%. You could drive the leds directly from the comparator, but it is better to use a bjt or fet.

      Obviously there is some fine tunning that you can do, but that is the general idea.

      This circuit is nice because you only need one 555 which can drive many comparators. You only need one pot and comparator per colour of led. The microcontroller is nice because you can preprogram a number of pleasing colours, as well as automatically sweep throught those colours.
      • Re:Not bad but... (Score:3, Informative)

        by kzinti ( 9651 )
        Just what I was thinking, dude, but you shouldn't need the external comparator. Look at this page:, in particular the astable configuration with the diode across R2 to get a more variable duty cycle. Do that, but instead of separate R1 and R2, use a linear pot. Hook pin 7 up the pot center tap. The RC frequency stays constant, but by twisting the pot, you vary the duty cycle from low to high.
  • by rduke15 ( 721841 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .51ekudr.> on Monday November 15, 2004 @07:23AM (#10818626)
    My daughter wants lights in her Barbie house (seriously!), and I thought it should probably be easy with these newer bright LEDs and a battery, but I really know nothing about this.

    Wouldn't have thougt of asking /. about that, but since the topic came up...

    Anyway, I'd rather find the solution than send my daughter asking that guy for advice... :-)

    Can I directly connect these to a battery, or do I need some circuit in-between?

    Which sort of LED is it that I want? I mean, how do I recognise and select the right type in a catalogue? Or what more specific keyword do I add to "LED" to find relevant information on Google?

    • by sifi ( 170630 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @07:46AM (#10818694)
      You can use any sort of LED you like - It basically comes down to:
      a) The colour you want.
      b) How bright you want it.
      c) How big you want it.

      You shouldn't connect LED's straight to a battery.

      You need a series resistor (In between the battery and the LED). The value of the resistor is calculated using

      R = (Vb-Vf)/I.

      Vb = Battery Voltage
      Vf = Forward Voltage (On Data Sheet)
      I = Current (On Data Sheet)

      so for this [] 5mm white LED using a 9V battery Vf = 3.6, I = 30mA => R = 180 Ohms.

      Make sure that you connect the LED the correct way round (The long lead should be connected to the '+' terminal on the battery, the short lead to one end of the resistor and the other end of the resistor to the '-' terminal on the battery. If you get it the wrong way round it don't worry the LED won't blow up, the LED just won't work!

      Good Luck.

    • Beware: By the time you finish building it, your daughter will probably have moved on to something else. It was the same way with my neice, now she is into Mary-Kate and Ashley dolls. Can't see a big difference myself, but it is not my place to question.
    • by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <`sd_resp2' `at' `'> on Monday November 15, 2004 @09:06AM (#10819040)
      Don't use batteries, they pollute the environment something shocking. Use a mains adaptor instead, possibly even an old phone recharger or similar. Note that the voltage ratings quoted on the label are only for show and don't reflect what your trusty AVO will indicate.

      Measure the output voltage, subtract the forward voltage of the LEDs {add together if wiring several in series} to get the "excess" voltage {guess 2V if you don't know it, 3V for blue or white diodes} to find out the excess voltage.

      Select a suitable resistor to give about 20mA of current, it is not critical that this be spot on or anything, using the formula R = V / I -- where V is the excess voltage that needs to be dropped, I = 0.02 {because we said 20 milliamps but the formula wants whole amps} and R will be in ohms. Now resistors are made only in certain values, usually multiples of 10, 12, 15, 18, 22, 27, 33, 39, 47, 56, 68 and 82, so choose the nearest; eg. if your power supply is putting out 4.9V and your LED wants 2V, you have to drop 2.9V at 0.02A so R = 2.9 / 0.02 = 290 / 2 = 145, so use a 150 ohm resistor.

      Finally, work out the power rating required, by multiplying the voltage dropped across the resistor by the current through it. In this case, P = 2.9 * 0.02 = 0.058 watts, so a 0.25W resistor will do fine.

      Each room will need a separate switch and resistor, but if you have the volts available you can put multiple LEDs in series from the same switch. Watch the current consumption doesn't exceed the power supply rating: as you get close to it, the voltage will start to fall and the LEDs will get dim. But power supplies of this kind must be short-circuit-safe by law, so you won't burn your house down even if you do actually overload it.
    • I'm rather suprised nobody has said anything here yet.

      Basically you just need to put a resistor in series with the LED and battery, to keep the LED from burning out. LED's are a type of diode, which means that one side of the LED must be connected to negative, and one to positive or the current just won't flow.

      To find out the resistor value you need, you can use the formula descibed on this Diyaudio page. [] It also has some info for using multiple LED's in serial. If you have any more questions just lea
  • Hey, you guys should back off. At least he's getting some []
  • by Anonymous Coward
    anyone knows any good resources, how to switch your household as much as possible away from classical lightbulbs to LEDs and other energy saving illumination methods?

    any good pointers, resources, experiences?

    • The problem with LEDs are that they are still relatively low intensity light sources.

      While you may get s high intensity directional beam, it is more difficult to get a uniform general coverage LED source, as it takes many more LEDs. So it is just cheaper to use a good flourescent.

      With the price of LEDs dropping this may change.
    • I have three filament bulbs in my home -- that's including one in the fridge and one in the sewing machine. {No light in the oven. I was thinking to fix a gas mantle on a wire so that it could be lowered into or out of the burner to provide a light; but I changed my mind when I found out what was in them. Besides which, haven't you ever heard of baking blind? :) } The third one is in my bedside lamp; it's on a turn-for-off dimmer switch {thus precluding any kind of fluorescent} and so tends to last ab
  • Drool, beatiful women....
    look at ground: come see my very cool BED. It has some leds on it that make it a look great.
    Droooll, stare her breast...

    Definitely a good hit line. Definitely.
  • That bed... perhaps. However, I stayed at a rather nice hotel once that had similar lighting over the bed. If the console were replaced with something a bit more... subtle, and the lights were moved a bit, it would be pretty pimp.
  • While I'm not jumping to build this project myself, I've got a couple dozen others that I'm half-working-on at all times. I've got a list of links to manufacturers that provide free samples of electronic components for this very purpose. []

    Enjoy. If you know of more, I'd love to add to the list.

  • Is it possible to make a bunk bed into any kind of a "pimp bed"?!
  • The Vos Pad (Score:2, Funny)

    by maiku ( 167604 ) *
    I don't think I could live there. It'd freak me out, like Kramer in the Kenny Rogers Roasters episode.
  • Come on, LED brightness control should be via PWM. Get going on the microcontroller code, dude! Then you can do color cycling, timed dimming/brightning, etc.
  • Mine had a rule you could only use Underwriters tested/approved electronics and nothing rigged up on you own. The chance of a fire, though low with low-powered LEDs, can be devastating in these highly crowded buildings.
  • by cyrus007 ( 647810 ) on Monday November 15, 2004 @12:36PM (#10820830)
    Better still, Fry's has Christmas lights made of LEDs going for $9.99 for a box of 50/100, I don't remeber exactly. It has different colors but a constant illumination. Maybe you can just work on it to make interesting things and would be more safe also, and they also provide some warranty too.
  • by Mr. No Skills ( 591753 ) <lskywalker@hotma i l .com> on Monday November 15, 2004 @01:33PM (#10821435) Journal
    Sure would like to read it:


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