Sean Bremner and Matthew Taylor, two friends that are based in London, UK, are out on a mission to deliver digital project kits to allow its users to experience the fun and creative part of technology. Together, they founded the startup called Abstract Foundry Limited and have recently launched their first digital kit known as LumiCube. It’s a digital cube with six faces and one Raspberry Pi.
The LumiCube is defined by its makers as an “LED kit for the Raspberry Pi.” The cube is designed to transform the Pi into something that is more interactive and allows its users to experiment. Bremner and Taylor further described the cube’s purpose as something that will “allow people interested in technology to focus on creating and experimenting and bring their ideas to life,” said Sean and Matt, in the video provided by them at Kickstarter.com
More than just a cube
The LumiCube has 196 LEDs, with 192 programmable LEDs. Apart from that, it’s also packed with electronics such as a microphone, speaker, screen, buttons, sensors such as light and environment, and IMU. These in-builts allow the cube to talk, listen, and communicate. With that, users can talk, see, listen, feel, and stimulate the cube, allowing them to control the luminous cube with touch or touch-free gestures.
Bremner and Taylor provided a few examples of what can be done with the cube, such as using it as a sleep tracker or as a wake-up light. Users can set alerts with the LumiCube such as Bitcoin, traffic, and weather, and can even play games like Ping Pong on it.
The LumiCube has a built-in voice recognition system so one can ask it to play ambient sounds such as rain. The cube is made to be used by a larger demographic and does not require any coding experience. This can be run by using predefined codes that will be available in form of categories to choose from such as Lava Lamp, Colour Wheel, Traffic Alert, and Rain, among others.
Learning beyond the basics
You can also learn coding from the project booklet that comes along with the LumiCube kit. The language used here is Python. I found an interesting insight into what some codes can generate in the video.
I wrote one down in my notebook to talk a bit about this code. If you generate a function called OpenSimplex in the operating system of the LumiCube, generator = OpenSimplex(), it will enable the noise2d() function. This will help you create something on the cube that can be perceived in four dimensions. The generator.noise4d(x,y,z,t) function incorporates four dimensions, including the time, and enables the noise2d(). The combination will allow the user to create something in 4D powered by a 2D function of a machine.
The hsv_colour() function defines a color based on its “hue,” “saturation,” and “value.” The noise hue is just meant to control the hue of the color. This is basically the coding details of how a Lava Lamp function works. Apart from acting as a light, the Lava Lamp function enables you to generate 4D noise using a 2D noise function by assigning values to “a” and “b” in the def-return section. These values are the values that the computer attaches to various colors. The 4D noise() will assign these values to all the four coordinates, generating “returns().” The user in a 3D world would see a pattern of colors on the cube, which actually looks like an evolving 3D pattern that resembles lava flowing over time in another dimension.
The LumiCube can also interact with other devices, opening a lot more possibilities for this device. Bremner and Taylor plan to develop an environment where anyone can develop their own electronics with simple coding methods. Their environment commitments are resuing and designing modular electronics with replaceable parts rather than scrapping the metal.
The LumiCube just had a successful campaign on Kickstarter. They produced their first prototype in June 2020 and will be shipped to its backers in September 2021.
YouTube: LumiCube – Kickstarter video
Photo credits: The photo of the formula provided in the body of the article has been taken by the author for TechAcute. All other images are owned by Abstract Foundry and have been provided for press usage.