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First Bytes

Project Illuminate

Welcome! This is the website for Project Illuminate, the lab project for First Bytes.

Project Illuminate will use the Arduino Uno to control 25 color-changing LED lights. These lights are individually addressable, which means that we can control each one separately.

In this project, you will learn to use the Arduino board to create patterns in the lights. At the end of the week, we will have a project showcase where you can show off your creation (i.e. the patterns your program can make in the lights) and compete for prizes.

The Arduino Uno programming environment uses the Arduino programming language, which is based on C/C++, so first everyone must complete the C++ tutorial. This tutorial covers only the aspects of C++ you'll need for this project. Additionally, we'll using the Linux Operating System, which is new to many of you, and so the C++ tutorial includes information about how to get started in this environment.

Most of the tutorial and all programming for the project must be completed using Pair (or Group) Programming. Your log must be submitted with the rest of your materials at the end of camp.

Once you are familiar with the aspects of C++ used in this project, you will begin working with your lights and Arduino board.

Project Illuminate Guide
C++ Tutorial
Getting Started with Arduino
Connecting the Lights
Controlling the Lights
Basic Patterns
Advanced Topic:Dancing Lights
Advanced Topic:Displaying a Message

Troubleshooting and Bug Fixes

For more information about the showcase, please review the showcase rules.

More Resources
List of FastLED colors
Instructions to Make Your Own Arduino and Light Set
Download Our Framework

This lab was originally created and led by myself and Ashley Oudenne, and Clare Coleman has been instrumental in updating and adapting the lab for a new environment. Please let either Clare or me know if you have any questions! My contact information is on my main page, and Clare's email address is:

Acknowledgments: Special thanks to the people at FastLED who provided the library on which this project is based.