Entries from May 2007

LED Mortarboards—Technology Marches On!

I would like to bring to the attention of my readers an impressive technological advance made by one David Worden, lately graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a well-deserved degree in Electrical Engineering. Mr. Worden enlivened his graduation ceremony with a light show built into his mortarboard: 64 LEDs driven by a microcontroller programmed to produce a variety of animated effects. Let me be the first to congratulate Mr. Worden on his splendid achievement in Mad Science—but as a Mad Scientist myself, let me also remind the young upstart that he was not the first to have this idea!

In the long-past days of my miss-spent youth (err … 2004), I also graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering, and sported a light-show hat of my own at the ceremony. The mortarboard had four diagonal lines of 8 white LEDs each, controlled by a central PIC microcontroller; all five circuit boards were painted black and atttached to the top of the hat with velcro. Though I must admit, Mr. Worden's design is rather more complex, with twice as many LEDs as mine and a fully-concealed circuit.