Every year our local unicycle club participates in a parade called The Parade of Lights. It’s held at night around Thanksgiving and usually has a Christmas holiday theme.
This is the first year I’ll be participating, and I wanted to do a little more than just hook up a string of battery powered LED Christmas lights attached to my unicycle spokes and wear a silly hat.
After talking with a club member this weekend, I learned that the cycling club always shows up the unicycling club with extravagant decorations. That was all it took for the wheels in my head to get spinning, and now I have a purpose other than just participating. I got to represent, yo!
This post may be a bit outside the norm for this forum, but hopefully you can appreciate the spirit in which I come to you with this. We also have some pretty darn intelligent folks here, and I think some of you may have the experience I need for what I have in mind. There are also challenges to decorating a unicycle that only a unicyclist can appreciate! If you’re not interested in digital technology, microcontrollers, etc., you might want to skip this one. I’m gonna jump off the deep end here for a bit…
I’ve dabbled in electronics most of the my life, and I have excellent computer skills, but most of that was geared towards managing computer networks and engineering them. I haven’t had much of an opportunity to deal with programming microcontrollers to control lights, music, etc, but that’s what I’d like to do with this project.
Currently, my plans are to use an Arduino microcontroller board to control LED lights, maybe something like Adafruit’s NeoPixels or DotStar LED strips, and probably synchronized with music. Just want to make a cool light show. The LEDs are going to be attached to either clothing or the unicycle, or both, and it needs to be battery powered. If possible, I might want to synchronize it with music.
I’ve read a lot about this, but I haven’t played with any of this technology yet in my own hands. I’m not married to the idea of using an Arduino, but I’m leaning towards it as it’s marketed towards people like me that don’t have much experience programming microcontrollers, and there’s tons of online support for it.
If you have any experience with this sort of thing or have any suggestions for how we might show up that cycling club, I’m all ears!