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About a month ago, I entered the SaikoLED MyKi challenge. The idea behind the challenge was to get various hobbyist groups and hackerspaces involved with this new lighting system that was being released. Each group suggests their idea to the company, and three winners would receive a prototype of the MyKi light to tinker with, under the condition that they would document the process and provide plenty of neat pictures and videos. I made this blog specifically to document my contest-winning project.

My idea for the project stems from a bi-weekly event that already takes place at my hackerspace of choice, i3Detroit. Every other Saturday, a small group of us would get together and network our laptops together in a small room with a projector to play the video game Artemis : Bridge Simulator. While I won’t go into the full details of the game, there’s one little thing that makes Artemis the perfect hackerspace game. It’s just begging for DIY enthusiasts to make custom hardware for it.

I discovered that the game natively outputs DMX signals, similar to what would be used with stage shows and DJ lighting. I got very excited about this, and quickly searched for a cost effective way to rig up some DMX lighting at i3Detroit. The problem was in the cost effective part. DMX lights ran from about $50 a piece, at the minimum, and the OpenDMX USB interface that was suggested ran $70 + shipping. I wanted something even more affordable. So, I searched through the equipment I already had.

The result was an RGB LED strip that was controlled using the ship’s in-game data file, rather than the DMX commands. It was buggy, it crashed frequently, and as nice as it looked, it simply wasn’t bright enough to be noticed during gameplay. To make matters worse, the latest Artemis update didn’t work at all with this method. I put this project on the backburner and moved onto other things. It was then that I found out about the MyKi contest. Realizing that this light would be absolutely perfect, I quickly submitted my idea, excited about mounting this light in our Artemis play area at i3Detroit. A few weeks later, I received the thrilling news that my hackerspace was chosen. The prototype is on its way!

I immediately began work on the project, and also decided to document it every step of the way, to keep up my end of the deal with SaikoLED. The next few blog posts will track my progress with the Artemis lighting project, and will hopefully conclude with an awesome video of everything in action. Stay tuned for more!


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