IoT Weather Reminder – Anne

Link to instructions draft: Google doc (contains also materials and tools list.)

Link to Instructables page:

Circuit Progress photos:

Progress shot showing the jumpers that need to be soldered for the displays.
circuit on breadboard and tripler (in progress and showing only 2 of 3 alphanumeric displays)
Working circuit just before being disassembled to be soldered on permaboard.
Soldering of circuit on permaboard in progress.

Model (in progress, the final circuit will be mounted inside an 8″x8″ shadow box. This is the front view.)

Circuit Diagram

The PIR at the top toggles the scrolling text. The neopixels light based on weather conditions from Weather Underground. The 7 segment displays forecasted high temperature for the day. The small OLED displays today and tomorrow’s brief forecast.

Video Storyboard

IoT Excercises pt.2 and Final Project update – Anne

IoT is working. Connected and set up “command” at Adafruit IO and that is working fine. Set up IFTTT account and applet there.

IFTT applet set up to use “command” on Adafruit IO
Adafruit IO logging screen showing button presses on board on my desk.

Here is the exercise to have two Adafruit feather huzzah boards talk to each other via the “command” feed. Even though the boards are mounted on the same breadboard, they are not physically connected to each other.

Project: Visual Weather Station

I’ve been working on setting up, understanding and now modifying Becky’s Minimalist Weather station as the basis for my visual weather station. The first mod I tried was adding an OLED screen to show me if the board was in fact connected to my wireless. However, after fidgeting with this, I’m not sure of

a) how I could refresh the initial screen once the device is powered up to see if it still connected to the internet and

b) I’m not sure if this is a real problem — as in restarting the device should connect it to wi-fi and if it doesn’t that is a problem with the wi-fi. (I’m going to leave the prototype running for a day or two to see if it loses wifi and then reboot it on battery and see if it has any problem reaquiring wi-fi.)

There’s another possible problem with this solution in that the 7 segment display uses the SCL and SDA ports on the board. I’m not sure if these can be shared between and OLED and a 7 segment matrix display. (The 7 segment is needed to display the temperature in the finished weather station.)

Anyhow, the OLED display is on hold for now. Here is the assembled working weather station per Becky’s Instructable:

The 7 segment display is pulling temperature data from Weather Underground by way of IFTTT where it is set up as an applet and connected to an Adafruit IO feed. The neopixel stick is divided into 2 neopixel sections — Clear (Sunny), Cloudy, Raining, Snowing — each responding to Weather Underground data by way of IFTTT applets set to trigger on changes in weather conditions. These are connected to an Adafruit IO feed. The two that are lit here indicate that the conditions are Cloudy outside. (In the time it took to update this post the conditions changed as seen in the final photo in this post.)

Now that the basic visual weather station is working, the next step is to expand the weather conditions. The Applets have been created in IFTTT as well as the feeds in Adafruit IO.

The electronics and neopixels will go inside a case with cutouts showing a selection of visual icons for the weather conditions. There will also be a cutout for the temperature display.

Proposed Bill of Materials (BOM)

(1) Feather Huzzah board

(1) 7 segment feather matrix

(1) lipo battery

(1) a/c adaptor 5.25vdc 1A

(1) inline usb micro B to usb A power switch

(2) neopixel RGBW sticks

solid core wire

(1) perma-proto board

either a small 4×6 shadow box or basswood to build a box plus chipboard and diffusion materials for the neopixels.

Circuit Diagram

Running Fritzing on Mac Catalina has not been successful. It crashes trying to load Adafruit parts. This week’s circuit diagram is therefore drawn by hand until I can figure out why Fritzing is not working after repeated attempts to install the program and the Adafruit parts libraries.

However, while Fritzing was a fail this week, while I was working on this post Weather Underground updated the conditions from Cloudy to Clear (Sunny) and the weather station received the data and changed the neopixels to the first two:

IoT Feather blink & IoT Project Sketches – Anne

Here is the the initial sketch loaded and blinking the on board LED:

Here is the board connected to my wi-fi and talking to my router:

Here is the video of the Feather Huzzah board with the blink sketch:

IoT Project proposal sketches

My ideas are gathering around three possible projects and I am :

  1. Idea #1: a motion-activated project that would help monitor if the dog has been fed for a household where more than one person feeds the dog and the dog is on medication that is administered with meals and should not be doubled up. Information would be available on our smartphone indicating whether the dog bowl had been moved in the two time periods for breakfast and dinner.
  2. Idea #2: A “building block” for artists who would like to place discrete animations or scrolling text drawn from web servers into their static 3D work. This one I’m not sure can be done on the Feather. I’ve seen only instructions for doing this in Python. However, if this can be forked onto Arduino Feather without becoming lossy due to limited file size for images etcetera then this could be a cool way to get moving images and text into small scale art installations.
  3. Idea #3: Visual “what’s the weather, what do I need” device. This is a riff on a weather station except that it takes the typical data of temperature, humidity etc. that is usually displayed in weather stations and makes it available in an “at-a-glance” platform that answers visually critical questions like “do I need my sunglasses and sunhat” and “do I need my umbrella” and “do I need my hat and gloves” as well as signaling if there is severe weather. In addition to these visual cues, this weather device also has 1-2 OLED displays for more information if the user wants to see temp, what the weather warning is, etc.

Halloween Hat Project – Anne


This project is organized around the character of the Sorting Hat from the first of the Harry Potter books and movies. The intent of the project is to amuse people and invoke nostalgia for those who have read the books. The hat can be worn. The light effects are controlled by two sets of button switches hidden in the tassels. I learned a lot doing this project including soldering in tight spaces–the neopixel jewels and soldering header pins in particular. The neopixels and sound board were all new to me as well. The project was more work than I anticipated and I don’t regret the time spent on it as I learned lots of new techniques. However, the scale of the project and the time to execute it were a real challenge. For the next iteration I would focus on reducing the footprint of the Uno to a smaller board to fit inside the hat and exploring the neopixel code for more effects. Additionally, the button switches are “clicks” and that combined with low volume on the hat’s “voice” needs more work.

In progress images and sketches:

Tested and ready to assemble.

Tinkercad Circuit

Here is the Tinkercad circuit for the lights. (Note: Not seen here is the power shield fitted on top of the Uno for the LiPo battery and the Lipo battery.)

Here is the current Arduino sketch:

Here is the sketch:

Here is the circuit diagram for the audio fx board:

Current Parts list

(2) 1/4 round neopixel strips x15 neopixels each

(4) neopixel jewels

(10) push button switch

(10) 100 ohm resistors

(1) Arduino Uno

(1) Audio FX board

(2) 3W 4ohm speakers

(2) LiPo batteries – 3.7v 500mAh for sound and 3.7v 1800mAh for lights

(1) LiPo backpack for connecting battery to Audio FX board)

(1) Arduino Uno power shield for attaching LiPo battery to Uno

(3) perma proto boards

(5) sorting hat .wav files at


Halloween Hat – Project update — Anne


This project is organized around the character of the Sorting Hat from the first of the Harry Potter books and movies. The intent of the project is to amuse people and revoke nostalgia for those who read the books.

Progress to Date

Creating the Neopixel array and coding it has taken the bulk of the time this week. There are 58 neopixels in the strip divided among 2 Adafruit 1/4 neopixel rings and 4 neopixel jewels. I’ve been writing the code to address sections of this array as follows:

  1. The two 1/4 rings form the user hat brim downlight effect. These are numbered 0 – 29 in the Arduino Code.
  2. The next two neopixel jewels form the bottom and top light effects in the mouth and are numbered in the Arduino Code as 30-43.
  3. The last two neopixel jewels comprise the eyes and are numbered in the Arduino Code as 44-57.

Once the array was soldered I tested to make sure all the neopixels were lighting and to understand how the light flows from one neopixel cluster to another.

The next step was to isolate the sections of the strand and assign different colours to single these out for later development. In the photo below of a sections’ test, the hat brim is in green, the mouth in blue and purple and the eyes in red:

The neopixel eyes will go inside ping pong balls filled with polyfill:

Separate from the neopixel array, work has also taken place on the pattern for the structure of the face that will also serve as the mount for the electronics. Here is the simple paper model to figure out how to cut and mount the chipboard facial features:

Tinkercad Circuit

Here is the Tinkercad circuit for the lights. I’ve been able to isolate the sections of the neopixel array:

This is currently evolving to include a push button and vibration sensor. (Though testing isn’t working with the vibration sensor and on further thought, this sketch is likely to be refined to replace with three or more pushbuttons in the next iteration.)

Here is the current Arduino sketch:

Current Parts list

(2) 1/4 round neopixel strips x15 neopixels each

(4) neopixel jewels

(1 – 4) push buttons

(1) medium vibration sensor #18020 (tbd)

(1) currently on Arduino Uno for development

(1) Audio FX board

(1-2) speakers

(2) lipoly batteries

What’s left to do:

  1. finish writing the sketch
  2. solder the Audio FX board and test with .wav files (already collected)
  3. finish soldering and assemble final electronics. If time permits transfer from Uno and onto smaller Arduino board with lipoly batteries.
  4. assemble the hat with the electronics.

Halloween Costume Project Proposal – Anne

I will be making a light up talking sorting hat based on the the one in Harry Potter.

The first two images are the ones I am using for reference. The last image is a “sorting hat” I purchased online. The hat is not only too big but doesn’t read as a sorting hat – there is no distinctive grouchy face. However, it’s the correct colour and there’s enough material to pull it apart with a seam ripper and re-cut and reassemble it. I’ll make an armature out of chipboard, wire and polyfill for the distinctive brows and mouth.


  • 2 eyes that light up and are animated
  • 1 led in the mouth cavity that lights up with the eyes (TBD if this animates the mouth or is just weird).
  • “down lights” that wash over the wearer’s face when the eyes are lit. Colours will correspond with the Hogwart’s House the hat assigns
  • a “voice” that is activated and plays after the eyes are lit

Circuits, Psuedocode and Code resources


When vibration detected, neopixel jewel eyes light in animated sequence. Once eyes are lit, voice is activated and plays a .wav file from a selection of .wav files (if included in the final sketch, the mouth area led lights). As voice is talking, a secondary downlight from bright leds wash over the wearer’s face.

That said, two different boards will be creating this illusion. The Arduino Uno board will be used for all the light effects. The second board — the Adafruit Audio FX Sound Board will be on a separate trigger and will serve up the sound files.

Circuit for NeoPixel

Circuit for Audio FX Sound Board and Speakers

Tinkercad does not have the parts for the sound board. However, what is key here is that the FX Sound board is a standalone sound solution that does need Arduino to run. Just hook up to power and speakers and attach a trigger switch to play the .wav files.

Here is a sample of what the FX board circuit looks like that will be modified for this project:


(2) neopixel jewels for the eyes

(2) neopixel 60 quarter rings for the under hat brim down lights

(1) Adafruit Audio FX Sound Board (part #2217)

(1) either vibration switch or simple on/off switch

(1) floppy hat to pull apart and rebuild

(2) ping pong balls for diffusing the eyes

(1) translucent shimmery fabric for over the eyes for effect

chipboard, wire and polyfill for forming the brows, nose and mouth

(2) battery packs

vibration switch (to trigger lights)

membrane led keypad (single key to trigger sound)

Arduino Uno board

permaproto breadboard

The sorting hat scene from the first Harry Potter movie for reference:

NeoPixels – Arduino & Halloween Sketches – Anne

NeoPixels circuit and modified Arduino code

Testing completed NeoPixels circuit before tinkering with code. Changes to original Arduino code from light 4 neopixels to light 8 neopixels.

Edited version of NeoPixel to make a “Pride” effect of rippling rainbow:

See also:

Halloween Costume Ideas and Sketches:

I’m going to attempt a Halloween wearable that lights up with a tilt switch. After sketching a few ideas, I’m settling on a witch’s hat as it has plenty of space to put circuits, battery pack and Arduino. I’m planning on doing a version the Sorting Hat from Harry Potter. I’ve found a few Arduino Sorting Hat projects online, but am planning my own spin on this. Right now I’d like to see if I can get a simple animation for the mouth and one brow with a servo motor, light the eyes and play sound. I’m on the fence about whether to use a tilt sensor or a PIR sensor to activate the effects. Given that this is Zoom, I may go with a tilt sensor.

Parts will include:

  • fabric, chipboard and wire for constructing the hat
  • Arduino Uno
  • Eyes: There are 3 options from simplest to most complicated: easy: 2 super bright red lens and a bit more complicated: two neopixel jewels or maybe just single neopixels. Final option, two 8×8 LED matrix — more complicated but can do moving eyeball effect.
  • Mouth accent and light fall over wearer’s face: either single lens or neopixels
  • tilt switch
  • battery or lipoly batteries
  • if I am able to take this further to add voice, then the Adafruit #94 wave shield and speaker (there’s this kit on Adafruit: #175 wav shield and speaker kit.
  • if all this is working, then also a servo motor to move an eyebrow and lip.
  • SD card for .wav files

The function of the Sorting hat is based on a simple on/off state triggered by the tilt switch.

If the tilt switch is detected, then all the effects trigger: leds light, servo motors start and audio effect plays.

Another version of this break out some of this. As in perhaps in an “off” state some leds are on all the time, and then more effects are triggered by the tilt switch.

Anne’s Plush Night Light

This caterpillar night light is for children. I modeled it on the shape of a neck roll pillow. It is for when a child wakes up in the middle of the night. It is soft and big enough that it can double as a small pillow and does not take fine motor skills to turn it on. The light is meant to be soft enough to not disturb any other sleepers.

It was an interesting challenge to work with the light as well as the plush negative or light knock-out stripes.

This is the pattern:

In progress images and first circuit. The circuit was modified to include two more LED’s for the antennae:

Here is the circuit diagram:

Building the circuit and diffusing the light was challenging. The ping pong balls helped amplify the light and the tubing helped work the light into the antennae.

The materials for the plush night light include:

  • muslin and plush
  • ping pong balls
  • poly-fill
  • 2 pipe cleaners
  • 6 ping pong balls
  • 10 LEDs
  • 10 100Ω resistors
  • switch
  • battery pack
  • 3 AAA batteries

Here is the first prototype:

Here are the early brainstorming sketches:

Anne’s Plush Night Light Proposal

This caterpillar night light is for children. I modeled it on the shape of a neck roll pillow. It is for when a child wakes up in the middle of the night. It is soft and big enough that it can double as a small pillow and does not take fine motor skills to turn it on. The light is meant to be soft enough to not disturb any other sleepers.

Here is the prototype:

This is the pattern:

Here is the circuit diagram:

The materials for the prototype included:

  • muslin for prototype (will swap for plush for final version)
  • poly-fill
  • 2 pipe cleaners
  • 8 LEDs
  • 8 150Ω resistors
  • switch
  • battery pack
  • 3 AAA batteries

Here are the early brainstorming sketches: