iBoost64 – What is It?

iBoost64 Overview

iBoost64 is a little board to boost input signals and electrically clean them up. It is designed solely for use with the Pirocon2

Pirocon2 has 8 bi-directional pins that determine the direction (input or output) using the strength of the drive signal applied to them. We have found that some sensors have insufficient drive strength to reliably convince the level shifters that they should behave as inputs. This has the effect of appearing to randomly react to or ignore inputs – especially with marginal sensors.

This little board can be plugged onto the pins of the Pirocon that you want to use as inputs only. With the board in place, the selected signals are always inputs and cannot be outputs.

Because the power and ground pins go all the way across the 8×3 connector on the Pirocon, you can plug the iBoost64 into any position even with only 1 set of three pins (although it wouldn’t be very stable like that)

The iBoost64 has 6 inputs which can either be high or low (hence the 64 because 2^6 is 64)

  • 6 non-inverting schmitt trigger inputs
  • high hysteresis so slow moving signals produce a nice clean edge for the Pi
  • Enables weak sensor outputs to drive the Pirocon directly
  • Wheel sensors on Initio can be driven with 5V as intended and plugged directly into the iBoost64


SmartBadge – Flashing Pixels and Games for Geek Events

Designed in conjunction with Amy Mather @MiniGirlGeek

SmartBadge is a wearable that you can program to display patterns or  messages, play games or just to blind anyone who comes too close

19 super-bright, full-colour individually addressable RGB neopixels arranged in hexagonal rings allow you to make fantastic dynamic patterns and exciting games

4 mini buttons give you control over menus, or game functions. You code, you decide!

Powered from a rechargeable lithium coin cell which lasts 45 minutes on a single charge whilst displaying patterns continuously.

Fast, simple and exciting way to start working with wearable computing



  • 19 RGB neopixels
  • 4 buttons
  • Arduino IDE compatible
  • Rechargeable coin cell
  • Power & activity LEDs
  • On-off switch
  • Fully soldered


Pre-Installed Demo Program

SW1 acts as the menu button. After a 5,4,3,2,1,0 countdown it shows a single purple LED. Pressing SW1 cycles through 1,2,3,4,5,6 LEDs lit. It times out after 5 seconds without a button press and runs the selected demo as below. You can press SW4 if you don’t want to wait the 5 seconds.

Press SW1 at any point to return to the menu

Individual Demos

  1. This is the default demo and just shows lots of pretty patterns
  2. Capture Pixels game. You have to press SW4 when the white LED is on to capture it. When you complete the level it starts again, but you get less time to do it
  3. Death Ray. Ray gun effect with super bright finale
  4. Bug Chase. My brother and I wrote this game at the end of the 70s/early 80s (ancient history). It sort of pre-dates pacman. You (Blue) have to visit every pixel to collect them, whilst being chased by a bug (Red). SW4 and SW3 move you around the hexagonal ring. SW2 moves you inwards. Collected pixels show green on the first level and subsequent levels get faster. On our original game we introduced a second bug on level 3, but I haven’t done that. This game is very hard!

Example software and neopixel library available from the 4tronix SmartBadge GitHub


PlayHAT – Learn While Playing on Raspberry Pi

Purchase PlayHAT here

PlayHAT is a ready-assembled educational learning board with 9 full-colour neopixel LEDs with 4 big coloured buttons and a beeper

It is a great way to start learning about use of GPIO in either Python or Scratch. It’s very easy to program; use the python library or broadcast the ScratchGPIO message to set the LEDs to the colours and brightness that you want. The buttons and beeper can also be read easily in your software – each button is represented by a separate input pin. Switch the pin high and the beeper will sound.

The LEDs are in a 3 x 3 Matrix allowing:

  • Randomising Dice
  • Traffic Light simulator
  • Simon game—remembering sequences)
  • Use the full matrix for cool flashing patterns!

ScratchGPIO already supports PlayHAT in the development version.

To drive the neopixels in Python you can install our demo files from the 4tronix PlayHAT GitHub