Install CircuitPython

The Adafruit Feather M4 ships with CircuitPython but lets go ahead and update it to the latest version. It's super easy with the website, just click the link below to launch the page. There you can choose to install stable release or beta. 

Quick Start

  • Connect board to computer via a known good USB and double press the reset button.
  • Download circuitpython UF2 and upload to the FEATHERBOOT drive.
  • Open CIRCUITPY drive and upload the required libraries (listed below) and

Adafruit Circuit Python Libraries

Download the Circuit Python library bundle and unzip the folder. Create a new folder in the CIRCUITPY drive and name it "lib". The following libraries are required to run the code properly. Double check to ensure all of the files and folders are inside the lib folder on the CIRCUITPY drive.

  • adafruit_bus_device (directory)
  • adafruit_lis3dh.mpy
  • neopixel.mpy


Click the link below to download the project  zip – This contains the code, audio and 3D files. Upload the file to the CIRCUITPY drive.

Create a new folder on the CIRCUITPY drive and name it "sounds". Upload the audio files to that folder. The code will run properly when all of the files have been uploaded.

# SPDX-FileCopyrightText: 2019 Kattni Rembor for Adafruit Industries
# SPDX-License-Identifier: MIT

Prop-Maker based Key Blade.
Adafruit invests time and resources providing this open source code.
Please support Adafruit and open source hardware by purchasing
products from Adafruit!
Written by Kattni Rembor for Adafruit Industries
Copyright (c) 2019 Adafruit Industries
Licensed under the MIT license.
All text above must be included in any redistribution.

import time
import digitalio
import audioio
import audiocore
import busio
import board
import neopixel
import adafruit_lis3dh

COLOR = (255, 0, 0)  # Default is red
ALT_COLOR = (255, 18, 0)  # Default alternate is orange

# CUSTOMISE IDLE PULSE SPEED HERE: 0 is fast, above 0 slows down
IDLE_PULSE_SPEED = 0.03  # Default is 0.03 seconds

# CUSTOMISE BRIGHTNESS HERE: must be a number between 0 and 1
IDLE_PULSE_BRIGHTNESS = 0.3  # Default maximum idle pulse brightness is 30%
SWING_BRIGHTNESS = 0.4  # Default swing brightness is 40%
HIT_BRIGHTNESS = 1  # Default hit brightness is 100%

# CUSTOMISE SENSITIVITY HERE: smaller numbers = more sensitive to motion

# Set to the length in seconds of the "on.wav" file

NUM_PIXELS = 40  # Number of pixels used in project
POWER_PIN = board.D10

enable = digitalio.DigitalInOut(POWER_PIN)
enable.direction = digitalio.Direction.OUTPUT
enable.value = False

strip = neopixel.NeoPixel(NEOPIXEL_PIN, NUM_PIXELS, brightness=1, auto_write=False)
strip.fill(0)  # NeoPixels off ASAP on startup

audio = audioio.AudioOut(board.A0)  # Speaker

# Set up accelerometer on I2C bus, 4G range:
i2c = busio.I2C(board.SCL, board.SDA)
accel = adafruit_lis3dh.LIS3DH_I2C(i2c)
accel.range = adafruit_lis3dh.RANGE_4_G

COLOR_HIT = COLOR  # "hit" color is COLOR set above
COLOR_SWING = ALT_COLOR  # "swing" color is ALT_COLOR set above

def play_wav(name, loop=False):
    Play a WAV file in the 'sounds' directory.
    :param name: partial file name string, complete name will be built around
                 this, e.g. passing 'foo' will play file 'sounds/foo.wav'.
    :param loop: if True, sound will repeat indefinitely (until interrupted
                 by another sound).
    print("playing", name)
        wave_file = open('sounds/' + name + '.wav', 'rb')
        wave = audiocore.WaveFile(wave_file), loop=loop)
    except:  # pylint: disable=bare-except

def power_on(sound, duration):
    Animate NeoPixels with accompanying sound effect for power on.
    :param sound: sound name (similar format to play_wav() above)
    :param duration: estimated duration of sound, in seconds (>0.0)
    prev = 0
    start_time = time.monotonic()  # Save audio start time
    while True:
        elapsed = time.monotonic() - start_time  # Time spent playing sound
        if elapsed > duration:  # Past sound duration?
            break  # Stop animating
        animation_time = elapsed / duration  # Animation time, 0.0 to 1.0
        threshold = int(NUM_PIXELS * animation_time + 0.5)
        num = threshold - prev  # Number of pixels to light on this pass
        if num != 0:
            strip[prev:threshold] = [ALT_COLOR] * num
            prev = threshold

def mix(color_1, color_2, weight_2):
    Blend between two colors with a given ratio.
    :param color_1:  first color, as an (r,g,b) tuple
    :param color_2:  second color, as an (r,g,b) tuple
    :param weight_2: Blend weight (ratio) of second color, 0.0 to 1.0
    :return (r,g,b) tuple, blended color
    if weight_2 < 0.0:
        weight_2 = 0.0
    elif weight_2 > 1.0:
        weight_2 = 1.0
    weight_1 = 1.0 - weight_2
    return (int(color_1[0] * weight_1 + color_2[0] * weight_2),
            int(color_1[1] * weight_1 + color_2[1] * weight_2),
            int(color_1[2] * weight_1 + color_2[2] * weight_2))

mode = 0  # Initial mode = OFF

# Setup idle pulse
min_idle_brightness = 0  # Minimum brightness of idle pulse
max_idle_brightness = IDLE_PULSE_BRIGHTNESS  # Maximum brightness of idle pulse
idle_direction = 1  # Initial idle pulse direction

# Main loop
while True:

    if mode == 0:  # If currently off...
        enable.value = True
        power_on('on', POWER_ON_SOUND_DURATION)  # Power up!
        play_wav('idle', loop=True)  # Play idle sound now
        mode = 1  # Idle mode

        # Setup for idle pulse
        min_idle_brightness = 0
        idle_direction = 0.01
        strip.brightness = min_idle_brightness

    elif mode >= 1:  # If not OFF mode...
        x, y, z = accel.acceleration  # Read accelerometer
        accel_total = x * x + z * z
        # (Y axis isn't needed, due to the orientation that the Prop-Maker
        # Wing is mounted.  Also, square root isn't needed, since we're
        # comparing thresholds...use squared values instead.)
        if accel_total > HIT_THRESHOLD:  # Large acceleration = HIT
            TRIGGER_TIME = time.monotonic()  # Save initial time of hit
            play_wav('hit')  # Start playing 'hit' sound
            COLOR_ACTIVE = COLOR_HIT  # Set color to fade from
            strip.brightness = HIT_BRIGHTNESS  # Hit flash brightness
            mode = 3  # HIT mode
        elif mode == 1 and accel_total > SWING_THRESHOLD:  # Mild = SWING
            TRIGGER_TIME = time.monotonic()  # Save initial time of swing
            play_wav('swing')  # Start playing 'swing' sound
            COLOR_ACTIVE = COLOR_SWING  # Set color to fade from
            mode = 2  # SWING mode

        elif mode == 1:
            # Idle pulse
            min_idle_brightness += idle_direction  # Pulse up
            if min_idle_brightness >= max_idle_brightness or min_idle_brightness <= 0:  # Then...
                idle_direction = -idle_direction  # Pulse down
            strip.brightness = min_idle_brightness
            time.sleep(IDLE_PULSE_SPEED)  # Idle pulse speed set above
        elif mode > 1:  # If in SWING or HIT mode...
            if audio.playing:  # And sound currently playing...
                blend = time.monotonic() - TRIGGER_TIME  # Time since triggered
                if mode == 2:  # If SWING,
                    blend = abs(0.5 - blend) * 2.0  # ramp up, down
                    strip.brightness = SWING_BRIGHTNESS  # Swing brightness
                strip.fill(mix(COLOR_ACTIVE, COLOR, blend))  # Fade from hit/swing to base color
            else:  # No sound now, but still SWING or HIT modes
                play_wav('idle', loop=True)  # Resume idle sound
                mode = 1  # Return to idle mode

Settings and Customization

If your are building the project as is, you shouldn't have to edit any of the values in the code. But, if you have a different setup, you'll want to read through the comments and make your desired changes.

  • Use the COLOR and ALT_COLOR variables to change the main color of the NeoPixel LEDs.
  • Accelerometer sensitivity can be adjusted in the HIT_THRESHOLD and SWING_THRESHOLD.
  • The number of NeoPixels and data pin can be changed via NUM_PIXELS and NEOPIXEL_PIN.
  • Audio is set to output via pin A0 (That's the analog pin #0 on the Feather M4 express).

Audio Files

There are 4 sound effects used in this project. Each sound can be customized and easily replaced with a different sound – Just need to make sure the format is supported. 

Adafruit CircuitPython supports 16-bit, Mono, 22.050kHz .wav audio format. See this guide to help format any audio files you might want to use in this project besides the files provided.

  • Power on – on.wav
  • Idle looping noise – idle.wav
  • Swing whoosh – swing.wav
  • Crash strike – hit.wav

Sound effects were sourced from the website.

This guide was first published on Apr 10, 2019. It was last updated on Apr 14, 2024.

This page (Software) was last updated on Apr 14, 2024.

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