How Low Can You Go?


Back in October, SparkFun held the first ever SparkFun Open House. We invited anyone and everyone to descend on SparkFun headquarters to check out the offices, chat about electronics (or anything, for that matter), and hang out for the day. All of the different departments came up with various activities to help keep the day interesting. One of those is this projects\ (and now tutorial): Laser Limbo. Check it out!

To build a laser limbo apparatus, SparkFun engineer Jordan used an IR LED, an IR receiver and the powerful Arduino Mega 2560. With these parts, Jordan set out to figure out how to make the IR LED turn on and off at 38KHz and how to monitor the output of the receiver.

Of course there was also a decent amount of physical construction and the above installation is what Jordan came up with. To read more about the timer configuration, programming, infrared detection, and more, check out Jordan's tutorial!


Comments 15 comments

  • This is a great first version. May I suggest a real 100W laser, with slight fog effect for visibility. You’ll have a lot more fun if you can singe body parts as you go under. Would make for a lot better drinking game too. And if done on roller-skates - man, you’d have a killer.

    • Wouldn’t that be visible to the naked eye without fog?

      • No, despite what Hollywood would have us think. ;)

        This is the electronic equivalent of lighting the limbo bar on fire. I’m seriously considering this. Now where did I put my 100W laser & fog machine again…

        • Are you sure? Even my 1.5 watt 445nm is usually pretty visible. I’m sure it’s just bouncing off dust… but it’s still there. I’d bet that the SparkFun build labs is pretty particle heavy ;-).

          • You’re right, it depends on wavelength and particles in the air. But if your area has that much stuff in the air you should be walking around with a dust mask. My place is messy, but being so dusty to see beams of light worries me.

    • I hope you’d at least get to wear protective glasses. Skin burns are cool, though.

  • How Low Can You Go?

    At first I thought this would be a competition about microcontroller power consumption.

  • IR? … you should have used a Maxbotics Ultrasonic sensor on the top! + a seven segment serial display!

    work smarter, not harder!

    • Totally agree. An ultrasonic rangefinder with LED level indicators would have been great. Addressable LED strips might make it easier as well.

  • What, no video of SparkFun employees enjoying Jordan’s creation?

    • You can’t really video tape it when shipping is using it as a hiring tool. I mean, you need to get down low for those low shelves on a skateboard.

  • I WANNA GO! But I’m in Kabul. Quick, buy me a ticket!


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