Jul - 2017

Turn that Frown Upside Down

bike torch 1

WP-banner A simple smile can brighten a person’s day and transform the world around them in a positive way. Mother Teresa once said, “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” Although it may seem like a small act, it affects others in more ways than one. Researchers have found that smiling affects your brain, mood, body, and everyone around you. Turning a frown upside down, Özkal Özsoy, a professor at the Industrial Design Department of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, invented the dot matrix handheld light that is small enough to be placed on a bicycle, held while walking at night, and added on as taillights or headlights of a motorbike. According to Özsoy, the device is the first prototype in the world. What inspired him to create this was his interest in the power of light-emitting diode (LED). He came up with the idea of “using a dot matrix system for lighting and started working on a simple test circuit that later developed into the dot matrix handheld light,” Özsoy said. After weeks of tinkering with the circuits and the design of this model, he combined “25 LEDs formed into a 5×5 matrix screen which is scanned around 50 times by an 8 bit microcontroller. The code inside lights up selected LEDs on the matrix, creating various graphics and animations,” he said.

bike light 5  bike torch 1

You can select the mode that it’s operating on, which makes it switch to a new graphic every 10 seconds. It has a “communication port that can be connected to either a Bluetooth or digital multiplex signal (DMX) module to be controlled remotely,” he said.


Özsoy added a smiley face animation mode that alters the lights to the sound of music. There is “a microphone and amplifier that can be placed behind the screen which amplifies the sound level. The microcontroller inside measures that level by using an analog/digital (A/D) converter and shows it on its matrix display like a digital LED volume unit (VU)-meter,” Özsoy explained. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXsk7ee6wmQ If you watch his video of the dot matrix handheld light singing to the sound of the music, you can’t help but smile. Even though it’s just a simple expression, exchanging a smile with others is infectious. Make someone’s day with a simple smile. As singer Louis Armstrong sang in one of his songs, “When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.” See Özkal Özsoy’s models here. For more information about his dot matrix handheld light see here.

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