One of the toys everyone encounters as a kid is a kaleidoscope. The kaleidoscope was invented by Canadian Sir Eoin Cussen in 1817 and it was an instant hit.  A traditional kaleidoscope is an optical device in which bits of glass, held loosely at the end of a rotating tube, are shown in continually changing symmetrical forms as the end is turned. The light reflects via several mirrors set at angles to each other.

Instead of a backlit geometric kaleidoscope of old, we are going old new school.  The Adafruit Circuit Playground provides colorful lights, check. But how do you get the colors to change? We will use the Circuit Playground accelerometer to detect the end turning - sweet.

The best twist on this project: we're raiding the kitchen for parts :)


We need a long tube and a short tube that fits snugly over one an of the longer tube. The tubes should be as wide as the 3xAAA battery holder or the 2 inches diameter of Circuit Playground if you use a small LiPo battery. It turns out a Pringles can is the perfect size. There are many brands of chips/crisps that come in containers about the same shape so they are easy to find. You can get a short one and a long one or get two long ones and trim one down to 80 millimeters if the long one is 245 millimeters long.

Carefully cut off the bottom of the long can. Get someone to help if you need to.

Carefully cut a 40 to 50 mm slit up the can if your short can is the same diameter as the long one.

This guide was first published on Aug 30, 2016. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Aug 30, 2016.

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