Pac Man is my best friend.
Okay, not really. But as a child of the 80’s, video arcade games were a huge cultural phenomenon of my formative years.
Tiny affordable microcontrollers are a cultural phenomenon of today’s generation.
This project bridges the generations to create an animated LED necklace or charm that you can customize to create a retro-style personal “totem video game creature.” It’s a small project, good for electronics novices and group workshops. And you’ll have something eye-catching to wear and show off afterward.
This is a soldering project, albeit a small one. You will need the common soldering paraphernalia of a soldering iron, solder, wire (20 to 26 gauge, either stranded or solid) and tools for cutting and stripping wire.
- Adafruit Trinket Mini or Gemma v2 microcontroller board (if Trinket, either the 3.3V or 5V type works). The newer “M0” boards are not supported.
- Mini 8x8 LED Matrix w/Backpack (any color — we have several! Green for Space Invaders, yellow for Pac Man, etc.)
- 3.7V 150mAh Lithium-Ion Polymer Battery
- LiPo battery charger
- JST Battery Extension Cable (Trinket only — not required if using Gemma)
- Lanyard to create a necklace. This should be non-conductive — plastic lace (the sort used for weaving bracelets), rubber necklace cord or heavy fishing line all work. A pin back (such as our magnetic variety) is another possibility.
- Optional: momentary pushbutton to activate the animation. You could substitute a vibration sensor switch to make it shake-activated. Or just use the tiny reset button that’s built into the Trinket or Gemma to restart the animation code.
- Optional: If using Trinket, a bit of heat-shrink tube is best for covering some connections; it’s cleaner than alternatives like tape.