ISS Overhead

I recently realized I haven’t ever built a complete end to end project. I’ve hacked together a lot of things, and have built plenty of hackathon style projects… but I’ve never taken the time to go the extra step to make a project into a nice polished “product” that I could give to someone.

So I decided to build a little box that lights up whenever the International Space Station is overhead. I was inspired by this Kickstarter, and figured it would way simpler, and cheaper to do it with the imp.

The hardware is super simple:

1x April
1x imp card
1x DC barrel jack
8x NeoPixels - I could have done this with literally ANY leds, but everyone loves NeoPixels right now, so why not use them!

Wiring it up involves soldering 8 wires (not pictured are the 3 wires connecting the two NeoPixel Strips):

The enclosure was one of the more interesting parts of this project. I’ve never done any laser cutting before, so this was new territory, but it turned out to be super simple. I got Ponoko to cut the enclosure. I’ve been curious about them for a while, and don’t have ready access to a laser cutter… It turned out to be super simple - literally drawing lines in a paint program!

You can find all of the code + files to get the enclosure printed (or print it yourself) from the GitHub repo: