Glowing USB Music Controller Orb

What it Does

The iBlob is a strange-looking music controller. The red lights are buttons that, when pressed, control Winamp. The iBlob has six buttons that can play/pause music, skip to the next track, go to the previous track, add the current song to a favorites playlist, and launch a visualization on the music server interface screen. The sixth button is programmable for other uses. The iBlob integrates with the MIDAS automation system music server.

How it Works

The iBlob (see header graphic) consists of a plastic hemisphere, six Allen-Bradley industrial light-up pushbutton switches, two 12v neon rings, and a custom PIC 18F2455 USB microcontroller circuit. The microcontroller runs a simple program that scans the switch inputs to see if any button was pushed, and if so, it sends a corresponding command to the PC the USB cable is plugged into. The PC sees the iBlob as a serial over UART device, so it uses serial commands to communicate. Client software running on the PC listens for commands from the iBlob, and it uses system messaging to control Winamp.