ECE434 Project Christmas Wreath

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thumb‎ Embedded Linux Class by Mark A. Yoder

Team members: Emily Dougherty Ryan Taylor

Grading Template

I'm using the following template to grade. Each slot is 10 points. 0 = Missing, 5=OK, 10=Wow!

09 Executive Summary
09 Packaging
09 Installation Instructions 
09 User Instructions
09 Highlights
09 Theory of Operation
09 Work Breakdown
09 Future Work/Conclusions
09 Demo/Poster
00 Late
Comments: Have a good day.

Score:  90/100

(Inline Comment)

Executive Summary

We want to create a "smart" Christmas wreath that allows the user to display a pattern of LEDs and play Christmas music from a mobile app (blynk). Animations and songs will be predefined and predetermined. Currently, we have the LED strip utilizing the PRU units on the BeagleBone working correctly to display colors on a small LED ring. We plan on moving to a more complete LED strip in the next few days. We have also started development on the USB connected audio jack. We are able to play .mp3 files using the mplayer command on the command line. We believe that the most difficult part of the project will be implementing the functionality of the music player and the LED strip in parallel. To accomplish this, we plan on running separate threads for running the LEDs and playing music. We have not yet been able to successfully run these two in parallel. Overall, we hope to spread a little Christmas cheer before we leave campus at the end of the term. Both of us are excited to be able to control a Christmas wreath using a mobile application.


If you have hardware, consider Small Build, Big Execuition for ideas on the final packaging.

Installation Instructions

Give step by step instructions on how to install your project.

[Put in paragraph explaining how to make a blynk app real quick?]

  • In the blynk app, select "New Project" and enter a name like "Christmas Wreath" and choose hardware option Generic Board. Make sure the connection type is "WiFi" and click "Create Project". An authorization code has been sent to the email associated with your blynk account.
  • Add your own authorization code into the file
  • Add 5 button widgets to the project workspace and tie them to Virtual pins V0-V4. These buttons will be tied to the predetermined songs and the stop button.
  • In the command line: source
  • Finally, run ./

User Instructions

Once the installation instructions are completed, all that is left to do is start playing Christmas music! The user can choose 1 of 4 different songs: Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You," NSYNC's "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays," The Ronette's "Sleigh Ride," and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's version of "Carol of the Bells." Each song corresponds to a specific button on the Blynk app. The user can press the desired song's button to begin the music and turn on the LED animations wrapped around the wreath. The user can stop a song at any time by pressing the stop button. Once the song and LEDs are stopped, the user can chose the next song to play.


Here is where you brag about what your project can do.

Include a YouTube demo the audio description.

Theory of Operation

Give a high level overview of the structure of your software. Are you using GStreamer? Show a diagram of the pipeline. Are you running multiple tasks? Show what they do and how they interact.

Work Breakdown

Timeline and Milestones

  • Brainstorm various light patterns to implement (11/5)
  • Find more songs to use (11/5)
  • Get the music to stop playing on a button press (11/6)
  • Thread the music and lights so that they occur at the same time (11/8)
  • Finalize the Blynk app (11/11)
  • Assemble final project (11/13)

Who Did What

List the major tasks in your project and who did what. Also list here what doesn't work yet and when you think it will be finished and who is finishing it.

Major Completed tasks:

  • Setting up Blynk App environment (Emily)
  • Starting and stopping music using mplayer in a python program (Emily)
  • Setting up lights and defining animations using PRU (Ryan)
  • Using threading to use mplayer and the light strip in parallel (Emily)
  • Procuring external power supply for final demo (Ryan)
  • Documentation (Emily and Ryan)

Future Work

Suggest addition things that could be done with this project.

With more time, we would like to add functionality of a webpage to change the settings on the wreath. This webpage would be accessible from smartphones, tablets, or regular browsers. It would have the same functionality as the blynk application, but would be more accessible--the blynk app only works for smartphones who have a specific page created.

Additionally, we would like to change the type of lights we use to a more traditional style of Christmas light instead of the LED strip. These single LEDs could be multicolor or just white, but would have the same functionality as our LED strip with more of the look of traditional Christmas lights.

We would also like to put in a way for users to upload their own music to the Wreath. Currently, there are only 4 songs that are pre-loaded and have pre-defined lighting. It would be nice to expand this capability to allow users to customize the music they can play.


Give some concluding thoughts about the project. Suggest some future additions that could make it even more interesting.

thumb‎ Embedded Linux Class by Mark A. Yoder