Mohit Bhoite’s Latest Lunar Lander Sculpture Reads Out the Temperature — in Binary Coded Decimal

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Circuit sculptor Mohit Bhoite has added a new member to the “lunar lander” family, revisiting a temperature monitor project with a new display type: eight standard LEDs.

Bhoite’s latest circuit sculpture design is part of Bhoite’s ongoing “lunar lander” series, which borrows its aesthetic from the craft that landed on our nearest neighbor in space. It is, effectively, a second go-around at a design Bhoite showed off back in July — but where July’s version used a four-digit seven-segment display to read out the temperature in degrees Celsius, the new variant opts for a series of LEDs.

Those LEDs light up in a pattern, which can be read by those familiar with the concept of binary-coded decimal (BCD). The LED “display” is split into two four-bit numbers, each capable of showing a number between 0 and 15 in decimal — more than enough for the 0-9 required to form half of a two-digit temperature reading in Celsius.

Elsewhere in the sculpture, which uses rigid wire as both the framework and the circuit traces themselves, is a Microchip ATtiny861A microcontroller, an eight-bit chip with 8kB of program memory, 512 bytes of static RAM (SRAM), and a 10-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC). The ADC goes unused in this particular project, however: The chip talks to the temperature sensor over the I2C bus.

More information on Bhoite’s iconic free-form circuit sculptures, which include the lunar lander family, satellite-inspired builds, and more abstract creations, can be found on his website; at the time of writing, however, the new BCD temperature sculpture had not yet been uploaded.

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