jonathan foote  

color wand






The Color Wand  is a gadget I made from an old Motorola walkie-talkie, colored LEDs, an acrylic rod, and some CMOS circuitry. The basic idea is that the acrylic rod acts as a light guide for the colored LEDs, which are set to rapidly blink in sequence.

(Though it pained me somewhat to cannibalize something as nicely engineered as the walkie-talkie, it had lost its mate and I'd hope you'd agree that a solo walkie-talkie is somewhat less than useful.)

 The rod, inserted in place of the walkie-talkie antenna, is about 20 inches long -- long enough that it wobbles with slight hand motion. When still, the colors blend into white light, but motion differentiates the colors into a patterned swirl. The picture at right is what the rod tip looks like when ellipsoidally wobbled.

The walkie-talkie controls allow the user to select the blink pattern and speed.  Here's a different pattern, at a slower blink speed. Red, green and blue can be combined to get yellow (R + G), cyan (G + B), and magenta (R + B).
Here's the guts. (Note the eight screws that must be removed to change the battery. The Motorola folks built that thing like a brick.)

For an industrial-strength jumbo-sized gadget that works on similar principles, check out the Hypknowtron.


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