Spreading Cheer Through IoT

Students build Cheerlights display that changes color with tweets

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Who couldn’t use a little extra light in their lives, especially on a rainy spring day? On April 1, the nonprofit DesignHouse brought precisely that to low-income students from the Austin Career and College Academy in Chicago.

Cheerlights is a shareware program that uses a Tweet-controlled app from ThingSpeak to change the color of a light to a ROYGBIV when a color command is sent via Twitter. Tweets can be sent from anywhere in the world to anywhere this program runs, reinforcing the power of Internet of Things (IoT) to connect individuals and devices around the globe.

In order to join the Cheerlights project, students had to build a display. SparkFun Electronics donated a Particle Photon, breadboard and wall charger, and mentors from local colleges, Hands On Training and Aeris, a leading IoT company, visited the school to teach students the basic wiring and technical skills that would transform those components and some LEDs into a gorgeous interactive light display!

A group of students and mentors came up with a circuit design for each pre-cut panel, and the panels were then assembled into one display that will live on at the school, reminding students how we are all connected when the colors change. Send out a tweet with @cheerlights and any phrase with a color to change it for them!

Try it yourself! Build your own Cheerlights display and spread the cheer!



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