As part of UC Berkeley's bollywood fusion dance team, we have performed on countless stages across the United States. However, no matter if we were in San Diego, Los Angeles, or Chicago, we always wanted to incorporate a wide variety of light up props. Our biggest limitation was time, money, and transportability. We need to be able to put a device in bag or small suitcase, and we don't want to spend loads of money on it, and we want it to endlessly customizable and synchronizable across stage. Being able to control your performance's lighting at your finger tips is what we wanted to do to step up in the dance circuit.
What it does
An iOS mobile app which lets you import music and create lighting cues which can be instantly synched to a series of arduino devices. Upon a start queue, all the lights will go off in an elaborate display of effects. The best thing is, all you need is your phone!
How we built it
Used the swift programming language to make our iOS app. We also built a temporary android mobile app to connect to our arduino devices, as iOS doesn't support connection to arduino modules. The android app sets up a bluetooth connection with a selected device to upload its unique lighting cue encoding. After parsing this request, the arduino lights up accordingly.
Challenges we ran into
Bluetooth was being very finicky when we tried to connect to it, and actually writing data at such a low level lead to some byte data loss issues. Also programming in C took longer than expected, after facing several sleep deprivation induced segmentation faults.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Divided work effectively, and thought through several algorithmic efficiencies through data management.
What we learned
We learned a great deal about hardware hacking. It was the first time any of us worked on a hardware hack, and we realized that it was actually an amazing feeling to have a physical product which you can go back home and use everyday, versus an app that you may or may not see the light of day.
What's next for RobinsLight
RobinsLight isn't only applicable to dance teams, but can be used in everyday homes and events. You don't need to have to go buy an Amazon Alexa, or a Google Home to have an aesthetic and simple light setup. Since all of our parts are very low level, we save our consumers a lot of money and stay away from any privacy issues.