Interactive Matter: The first year!

August 11, 2009

in Tinkering

Unbelievable that this is just the first year of Interactive Matter. But still there happened a lot of things.

Lets have a look on what Interactive Matter has managed to achieve.

The Beginning

It all started with the little idea of having a ‘time replay device’. How was your Day Darling was born. It samples the light levels during the day and if you take in your hand it plays it back.

The first prototype was still a bit rough but functional:

But soon it evolved in perhaps the nicest PCB I have done yet:

The hwydd board

The final ‘How was your Day Darling‘ was nice, but till a bit week. I think this is a project I have to come back to.


After the first success of How was your day darling I did something very dumb. After some beers I promised to create some Cylon/KITT like device in half a ping pong ball. Of course the concept got completely out of hand. After thinking how to switch it on I realized that the ‘easiest’ would be to include an accelerometer and detect motion. But if you have a accelerometer in it you can also play around with gravity, implement some minimalistic physics engine and implement a ‘air bubble’ with LEDs:


The original KITT-like animation was just used to indicate that the device is going to sleep. But this design ultimately got me to SMT. First of all it was hard to solder the ADXL accelerometer. So I bought an hot air rework station. And after that I was able to solder nearly any SMT device. Which is way cool.

Long Term Goal: Space Invaders Button

The idea for my Space Invaders Button is very old. I existed before I started with all this electronics stuff. I promised a friend of mine to get here some button for her jacket, displaying space invaders characters. I thought that it cannot be that easy. In the end it was more complicated than I thought- but at the end I was able to achieve it:

It was a great success, I must admit. People love it so much that I am currently working on a kit. So stay tuned and see what will be coming along. This design has still a lot of potential. It should be still able to use the LEDs as inputs (e.g. to detect touch or ambient light level). And there could also be some easier way to download custom animations on it. Another design which I have to revisit if I got some time.


The µTVBG was just some kind of SMT exercise. I questioned myself how small can you go tu build an TV-B-Gone clone. Ther result was quite nice. A working TV-B-Gone on approximate 2cm²:


Surely you will be able to make it smaller. Lets see how this evolves.

Whats coming up?

There are still a lot of projects in the pipeline. They rank from funny simple pranks to full scale product ideas. Of course all of them are in a much to early state to talk about. But stay tuned. They will be coming.

Another big issue right now is creating kits. Interactive Matter will offer solder-yourself SMT kits for all skill levels. But this topics needs some time too to evolve.

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