So this is a pretty simple project, but I thought it was a clever idea. I have 2 dogs, a lab and a lab mix. The lab "Sunshine" likes to runaway a lot if we let her outside at all. She always comes back, but we can't find her whenever she leaves. This worries us sometimes because we don't want a car to hit her, especially at night. Anyways, my idea came from this that I could make some type of collar that at least at night, would make her more visible.
Thus came the idea of a LED dog collar. Now, this basic one has to be turned on and off (which means that I would have to let her out on purpose to use it) but it is just a prototype. I have ideas about how to make it automatically turn on, but more on that later.
So the collar runs off an Atmel AVR ATTINY2313. It has 5 blue LEDs, and is powered by 3 AAA batteries. I also etched a custom circuit board (toner transfer method) and then covered most of the components in hot glue. The LEDs and all the wires on the collar are also mounted using hot glue. Now I definitely could have used a smaller avr, but the attiny2313 was the only micro I had lying around other than my bigger ATMEGA 328 from the arduino which I used as an ISP to program the tiny. The code is very simple, written in C, it just does several different strobe and "police light" patterns. Like I said before the device has a switch to turn it on and off.
Here are some photos and a video of it in action:
Now I was talking about the switch before, how it seems kind of pointless for the original intent of the collar (in case my dog runs away). So I was thinking, how do I trigger the LED collar to come on when my dog is outside? Well, I thought one idea, since it is winter right now, it is much colder outside. So if I hooked a temperature sensor up to the MCU, I could cause low temperatures to activate the LEDs. Just an idea, still a work in progress.