Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Silent Running


We like to include a picture or graphic with every post but there was nothing new to show today. There has been lots of unseen progress made in the past few days. First off the major hardware testing is done and everything that needs to work does! There are some minor bugs like the buttons being connected to the wrong power plane and the enable pin on the LDO (Low Dropout Regulator - the chip that provides a stable power supply) being connecting to the downstream side of the power flow. But those are all minor issues that are fixed with a scratched out trace and a bit of bodge wire.


The microphone and the LED control programs both work perfectly on their own. The next step is to combine them, a step that is easier said then done. We will be hard at work merging these two pieces of software and will update as soon as we can!

As always, don't forget to like us and share us with the rest of the inter-web!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Let there be light!


The LEDs are soldered on and the test code is lighting them up! As soon as the package from Digikey come in we'll add the microphone and really start having fun. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

They're Here


After months of redesign work and weeks on order the new circuit boards are finally here!!! We will be spending the next few days building and testing them to make sure everything is perfect. Picture progress will be uploaded as often as possible!


On the ride home from FedEx office

Before leaving the parking-lot... too tempting!

Can almost see them!

One more layer!!!
Ohhhh yeah!!! Can't wait to get some LEDs on them!

Monday, July 22, 2013

A complex little city


Laying out the PCB is like designing a city but where the streets can't touch. The PCB design is well under way and will be finalized in the next few days. Once its complete a small order will be placed to verify the design. The PCBs will be hand populated by us and rigorously tested. They will then go on to be the golden sets used for manufacturing references. The PCB order will take a few weeks to come in so in the meantime the functional prototype will let us develop the software.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tiny Soldering


There are a lot of changes from PEGS 1.0 to PEGS 2.0 so a prototype was needed to test out all these changes. The new circuit has been point to point soldered and testing has begun. Results are good (and it looks fantastic!) so the PCB is now being designed. After the PCB design is finished we will start on the code so expect some video posts of the working model soon!

Friday, June 28, 2013

FFT success


I have the mic, FFT algorithm and Glasses Designer all talking to each other and working properly. Now comes the fun part, creating the visuals. I've done the classic frequency bars as a test and I think it looks amazing! In the video below you can see it working in real time. I'm playing the music on my computer with headphones attached. They in turn are sitting on the mic which is connected to my prototyping unit. The prototype is processing the data then sending it back to my computer where it is displayed. (I know its a little Rube Goldburg style but it works!) 

If you have any suggestions for patterns let us know in the comments. Or better yet download Glasses Designer and show us what you want!

As always don't forget to follow this blog to stay up to date on the latest PEGS new. And like our Facebook page at

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Adding a Mic


I love things that light up and blink in time to music .There is something magical about not just hearing music, but being visually immersed in it. My most successful product to date is the DALCON which lets you pre-program LED strips to go along with music. But it is built for a pre-staged show, not for walking around at a concert or going to a dance party. These glasses need to respond to music in real time and that means it needs an ear. And not just any will do, we need a MEMS microphone as an ear.

It is the same type of microphone you will find in a cell phone or a smart phone. They are very small, low power and very durable. With very few components it can be attached to the MCU (brain) of the glasses and let it hear similar to the way you hear. All that needs to be done is to interpret that raw data and turn it into a beautiful visual show that I will be proud to wear on my face.


Turning the raw data coming from the microphone into something that can be displayed is no small task. It involves a branch of mathematics called Fourier Transforms. More specifically a programming algorithm called a FFT (Fast Fourier Tranform). Basically it takes the raw data and transforms it into the volumes of individual sound frequencies. It makes the data look more like the way we hear sound.

With the data transformed it becomes an artistic exercise of making pretty animations. Finding the right microphone, designing the proper amplifier circuitry and performing the math is simply what is required. The audio visual animations is the really needed part. It is the part that drives me to continue working, continue building and continue making the next pair of PEGS. 

Party on. And don't forget to subscribe to this blog and like our Facebook page

Monday, June 10, 2013

System Level Designs


A consumer grade electronic product needs to be more than just a good circuit board that does something novel. It should be something that connects with the user on an emotional level; it should be artfully crafted in every detail to go beyond its basic functions; it should be a beautiful product that the user will cherish; its look and feel should be the center of attention leaving the electronics to do what electronics do, hide behind the scene and perform some the underlying functions.

We haven't posted here in over two weeks, not because we are not working on or losing interest in the project but because we didn't want to lose the momentum we had going in the artistic design. We're trying to craft the identity of PEGS 2.0. It already has a 'soul', the electronics are known, they simply need to be shaped to fit into the outer shell. If you haven't guessed by now we've decided to have the entire frame made by injection molded plastic. We're partnering with the local technical college to use their equipment and expertise to give the PEGS a beautiful covering. So after many meetings and design reviews we have two outstanding concepts for the PEGS new look. We are holding a vote on Facebook to let you tell us the better choice, because after all we are designing these for you :)


Don't forget to like us on facebook while you are there!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fire Works


We have just finished designing a graphics program used to make custom patterns for the PEGS and we want you to try and break it! Or you could simply use it for its intended purpose of creating animated graphics, either way works :) The ultimate goal for this software is to create patterns, share those patterns with others and upload them directly to your glasses.

Link to download

We used the free Visual Basic Express to create it and we would like to share the source code but don't know how. Should we post to Git Hub? If you have any suggestions let us know! Also if there are any java programmers out there who want to make something like this, drop us a line, we'd love to have something cross platform.


Caleb has also put together a quick video tutorial on using the program. Check it out before you get started.

As always if you have any suggestion please leave them in the comments below. Also don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss an update :)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Form vs Function


The first order of business is to upgrade the 'look' of the PEGS. The original PEGS are big, boxy, and as some people put it, UGLY. We want this pair to look good with the lights on or off. After several designs and a lot of tweaking the following outline was chosen.
They will maintain the same shutter shade design featuring large horizontal slits for looking through them. The nose has also been changed slightly to allow room for a cushion so the glasses wont tire your nose out.


With the frames shaping up, it's time to consider what LED to use, how to drive them (power them) and what arrangement to place them in. One of the most popular suggestions by you was to make them brighter, so a new driving technique is needed. Last time the micro-controller (brain) directly powered the LEDs with the help of a single 595 shift register (a simple chip that allowed us to power more LEDs). With this setup each LED was receiving about 5mA, 1/16 of the time (numbers that mean things). The LEDs used can take twice that much power so a new technique is needed to drive them. MOSFETs (high power switches) and constant current shift registers (like the 595 shift register about but WAY better) will will work and allow for more LEDs. With more LEDs possible the question is how many is too many? I did some budget analyses and found 20 or 24 delivered the most bang for the buck. A quick rendering in my favorite CAD program, MS Paint :) and it was easy to see 24 is much better.
Old PEGS on top; 24x7 middle; 20x7 bottom; Proper aspect ratio maintained.

Have something to suggest? Please leave it in the comments! Also don't forget to share us on facebook :)

Friday, May 17, 2013



The Kickstarter for PEGS was not successfully funded but work on them is far from over. We identified many mistakes on our part in marketing and product design that we plan to fix on the next go round. This blog will be dedicated to showing off progress of the product redesign and is intended to be interactive. We want your feedback every step of the way so we can build the glasses you want. Subscribe and share so you don't miss a thing.


Some of the information post here will be very technical but we will strive to give you a higher level explanation of it (dumb it down). If you don't know anything about electronics, embedded system design, PCB layout, computer programming, design for manufacturing or a wealth of other geeky content that will be covered here this will be a great resource for learning some of those concepts.


We will leave you with a list of improvements we will be implementing in the coming weeks.
  • More and brighter LEDs
  • Auto adjust LED brightness depending on ambient light
  • PC software to create and upload custom patterns
  • On-board microphone with music visualizations
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Make them less ugly :)
  • Plastic frame for comfort and style
  • Open source
Got anything to suggest? Please leave it in the comments!