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.
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.
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!