Joe Longstreet

An inventor / maker living in Kansas City, Missouri

Red Rocket

arduino + bit shifters + leds = rocket surgery

A few girls from the HR department occasionally travel to nearby universities to participate in recruiting events. They bring lots of Barkley promotional materials, as well as a big rocket sign.

After taking my Internet of Wild Thangs Class, one of them had an idea for the rocket. The conversation whent something like this:

“Can we make the rocket light up or something?”

“Sure, that sounds pretty cool”

At this point in my career, I had written several applications which utilized micro controllers, but I had almost no experience with logic chips. I had read a few tutorials about how shift registers could be used to extend the number of outputs from an Arduino. So I wrote a little code, did a lot more soldering than expected, and taped all of it to the back of the rocket. Rocket Surgery.

The natural white LEDs give the rocket a nice retro glowing look and a potentiometer on the back allows speed adjustment of the light patterns. Now, when HR takes it to recruiting events, kids like to get their picture taken with the rocket.

There’s a little Github Repo for the code, but I never got around to making a wiring diagram. Check it out: