Ethan Spitz About Me

Ethan is a senior at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer and Systems Engineering. In addition to school work, He is the first employee of Lightfeed, a product which measures the effects of ambient light on the human circadian rhythm. Ethan is also the Contributing Editor, Web/Systems Director, and Copy Editor at The Rensselaer Polytechnic, Lab Manager at the Rensselaer Embedded Hardware Club, and Website Administrator at the Rensselaer Racquetball Club. He also designed a PCB for a biomedical device for a biomedical engineering professor on campus and a four and 16 channel PCB for visible light communication for the Smart Lighting Research Center.

Projects


4x4 RGB LED Matrix

RGB LED Matrix I started building this LED Matrix as a test for my plans to build a much larger one, perhaps 10x10 or larger. The design works by matrixing RGB (Red Green Blue) LEDs with shift registers and an Arduino Nano. The original design uses 74164 shift registers. After programming the Arduino for the first time, I was able to make it do full display patterns, however, if I wanted to do anything that didn't have all the LEDs lit (and some patterns that had all LEDs lit still didn't work), the colors and patterns that I expected was not the outcome. This was due to using shift registers without an output register. This meant while the data was being shifted in via serial, each bit was being output for the fractions of a second while the data filled the register. The fix the problem, I replaced each 74164 with a 74595 which has an output register. This means that while data was being shifted in, it outputs the old data until I shift all the data in the shift register into the output register. I am currently in the stage of designing a PCB version of the circuit and a way to control each panel at the same time. The hardware design can be found on my GitHub, ethanspitz/4x4LEDMatrix. My plans for the hardware on the PCB are dynamically rendered from the README.md on the GitHub Page:
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16 Channel PWM Driver Board

During the spring 2014 semester, I decided to start a project to create a circuit board which could be used to drive 16 channels of LED light strips. The board utilizes an Arduino Nano, provided from the Embedded Hardware Club, along with the PCA9685, a 16 channel, 12 bit PWM I2C-bus LED controller with 16 high-current MOSFETS. Additionally, the board has a pushbutton, potentiometer, real-time clock, and a LED seven-segment display for controlling the modes and light output. Currently, I have a board I designed an assembled running a LED lit window display for The Polytechnic where there is a meter strip of red, green, and blue LEDs in 5 different windows. With the board, I designed a very basic API that allows people to easily program different types of color patterns in the windows. The code for this can be found on my GitHub, ethanspitz/PolyDriverBoard/. My plans for the future of this project is to update the software to include a real, full-featured API which extracts all low-level code/processing from the user. This is to include: software color mixing, programmable fades, and RGB objects. Hardware improvements are also slated to likely include either a WiFi or bluetooth module to allow remote control of the lights.