Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Hackers brighten Beyster Building with a puzzle of programmable lights

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Visitors to the Beyster Building on the morning of Dec. 6 were treated to an unexpected and rather unique lighting display. Carefully wound into the building’s signature 4-story spiral staircase were a series of 100 colorful and blinking holiday lights. Very nice, but close examination revealed more…

These are Techie Lights

The lights are individually controllable RGB LEDs (GE-Color Effects) and are driven by a networked embedded system (Raspberry Pi). While it’s bored the Pi will happily drive itself, continually altering the colors and patterns of the lights, but there are also a few ways people can interact with the system.

These Lights May Be Hackable

A message left at the scene has identified the display as the Bob and Betty Beyster Blinkenlights, adding that they are “individually addressable, student-controlled Christmas lights of the BBB. Checkout @bbb_blinken or ask around and surely someone will share the API so that you too can learn how to hack the blinkenlights.” Or you might try https://twitter.com/bbb_blinken.

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