Mandy, I am your father…

I could turn this post into a commentary  about the importance of doing a thorough literature search, and despite how thorough you think your literature search is, it is not thorough enough.  Alternatively, I can make some Star Wars references; let’s go with that.

Soon, my wife and I will buy our first home.  My wife and I just bought our first home.  I have been looking at videos on how to paint rooms and found myself looking at periodic-table wall-art.  I came upon this website which was coincidentally published one year ago today.  Until now, I had not seen an RGB blinky-light periodic table besides Mandy, and it appears as if Mandy was coming to life just as apaf1 (send me your real name and I’ll edit, if you wish) was completing his project.  What does that mean for Mandy?

Yep – Mandy has a family.  Now, Luke wasn’t all that pleased to learn of his heritage.  The same who’s-your-daddy-theme permeates the new Star Wars films as well, and I don’t know what Rey thinks about her family heritage.  (Well, I do know, since I’ve seen the movie a number of times, and I have an opinion or three, but I don’t post spoilers. So go give Disney your money.)

Mandy is psyched to see other other blinky-light periodic tables because, well that’s just the kind a gal she is.  The design is quite different, consisting of a custom-made shadow box with Neopixels and a custom physical interface to alter the display from periodic properties to a few artistic visualizations.  Have a look:

The simple interface is pretty impressive (although Mandy says that it’s not as impressive as just speaking to her – perhaps she’s getting a little jealous about the snappy response time of apaf1’s periodic table).  Mandy’s got the information needed to do the neat states of matter display (see 1:00 min) but since all of her data is stored on the Raspberry Pi, it takes a few seconds to send that information via serial communication to the Arduino for display.  In addition, given Stephen Wolfram’s obsession with cellular automata, having access to Mathematica makes – at least in principle – the Game of Life display on Mandy fairly straightforward.

It’s interesting to compare the way abaf1 programmed the LEDs to my implementation.  My use of a 2-dimensional array allows for slightly easier access to the columns and rows of LEDs.  His code is a bit more complicated since it needs to do a lot more stuff (control the LCD, store property data, generate colors) that I have offloaded to the Raspberry Pi.  We both apparently like the example rainbow effect from the Arduino Neopixel tutorial, and it shows up almost cut and paste in both of our designs.  That said, I find it interesting to see two different approaches to the same problem – that problem being the lack of blink-light periodic tables in this world.

May the Force be your days be merry and bright.


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4 thoughts on “Mandy, I am your father…”

  1. Hi Bob,

    Long time fan! I’m currently a student at CSU and I just want to say that I wish I had the same drive and outlook towards chemistry as you do. Your presence is highly missed out here! I speak for everyone btw.

    1. Don’t lose faith, Fidel. My own Chemistry outlook has changed and evolved quite significantly over the years. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to do with my degree (and by ‘thinking’ I mean ‘not studying’). I miss my CSU buddies as well. My Brockport students haven’t yet realized how funny I am…

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