Overview

I'm a regular attendee at festivals that involve setting up a camp and then wandering around a large area with friends.  I also have friends who are prone to wandering off from the group in the middle of the night and getting confused about their own whereabouts.

It seemed natural to address this somewhat ridiculous problem with a somewhat ridiculous technological solution.  Enter the Glitter Positioning System:  A collection of boxes which uses NeoPixels to point in the rough direction of the other boxes.

Each box contains a Feather M4 Express, GPS, a LoRa radio for transmitting and receiving coordinates, a magnetometer, and a 16-NeoPixel ring for display purposes.  This is a simple proof of concept, but with the Feather M4's processing power and ample room for CircuitPython code, it makes for a capable and flexible platform for experimenting with navigation and simple radio communication.

Parts List

For each person (at least 2 required!) you'll need:

1 x Adafruit Feather M4 Express
This feather is powered by our new favorite chip, the ATSAMD51J19 - with its 120MHz Cortex M4 with floating point support and 512KB Flash and 192KB RAM. Your code will zig and zag and zoom, and with a bunch of extra peripherals for support, this will for sure be your favorite new chipset.
1 x Adafruit LoRa Radio FeatherWing - RFM95W 900 MHz
Add short-hop wireless to your Feather with these RadioFruit Featherwings.
1 x Adafruit Ultimate GPS FeatherWing
Give your Feather a sense of place, with an Ultimate GPS FeatherWing.
1 x FeatherWing Tripler Mini Kit - Prototyping Add-on for Feathers
This is the FeatherWing Tripler - a prototyping add-on and more for all Feather boards. Connect your Feather to two other Feather Wings without needing any stacking headers!
1 x Adafruit 9-DOF Accel/Mag/Gyro+Temp Breakout Board - LSM9DS1
Add motion, direction and orientation sensing to your project with this all-in-one 9-DOF sensor.
1 x Neopixel Ringer - 16 x 5050 RGB LED with Integrated Drivers
Round and round and round they go! 16 ultra bright smart LED NeoPixels are arranged in a circle with 1.75" (44.5mm) outer diameter.
1 x Lithium Ion Battery - 3.7v 2000mAh
Lithium ion polymer (also known as 'lipo' or 'lipoly') batteries are thin, light and powerful. The output ranges from 4.2V when completely charged to 3.7V. This battery has a capacity of 2000mAh.

Wiring & Enclosure

You'll also need hookup wire, and an enclosure for each unit.  I used silicone-cover stranded-core wire, because it's flexible, tough, and easy to fit into tight enclosure spaces. A waterproof plastic enclosure with a clear top keeps the electronics free of moisture and dust, and allows the NeoPixel ring display to be seen easily.

1 x Silicone Cover Stranded-Core Wire - 2m 26AWG Red
Silicone-sheathing wire is super-flexible and soft, and its also strong!
1 x Silicone Cover Stranded-Core Wire - 2m 26AWG Black
Silicone-sheathing wire is super-flexible and soft, and its also strong!
1 x Silicone Cover Stranded-Core Wire - 2m 26AWG Blue
Silicone-sheathing wire is super-flexible and soft, and its also strong!
1 x Silicone Cover Stranded-Core Wire - 2m 26AWG Green
Silicone-sheathing wire is super-flexible and soft, and its also strong!
2 x Small Plastic Project Enclosure - Weatherproof with Clear Top
Store your project safe and sound in this nice weatherproof box with a clear top.

Within the enclosure, I also used:

  • A small piece of acrylic to shield the battery
  • Self-adhesive Velcro strips to hold components in place
  • Electrical tape

You'll also want a Phillips-head screwdriver on hand for opening and closing the enclosure.

Note that this part list contains the components to build one GlitterPOS box, but two is the minimum you'll need to do anything with! Of course, the more the merrier!

This guide was first published on Oct 04, 2018. It was last updated on Dec 09, 2018. This page (Overview) was last updated on Oct 05, 2018.