I’ve managed to complete an electronic Halloween project in time for Halloween. It’s simply called Halloween Blinky Eyes.
I wanted to use LEDs to make glowing “eyes”, which would peer out from the shadows around our house, as if creatures were lurking, watching the trick-or-treaters who approached. But actually wiring up and soldering a bunch LEDs, let alone making them fade in and out and blink, was going to be time consuming, and I don’t really have a dedicated workspace for that right now.
But, being a programmer, I am accustomed to thinking of shortcuts which might take a lot of up-front effort in order to save time in the long run. In this case, I thought of using addressable LED strips, and programming a microcontroller to animate pairs of “eyes” along the strip. This saves me 99% of the wiring effort, and pretty much turns my laptop into my workbench for most of the work.