To Infinity and Beyond!

Arduino-based LED Infinity Mirror

Jeffrey B.

Issue 46, May 2021

Inspired by other makers, Jeffrey challenged himself to learn how to make his own infinity mirror and to make it a symbol of maker inspiration.

The project utilizes the Arduino prototyping board, along with an LED Strip, mirror on the back, and 2 way mirror on the front to create the illusion of LEDs being displayed infinitely.

Infinity mirrors can be quite mesmerising to look at thanks to their incredible illusion of appearing much deeper than what they actually are. They are also a great way to combine electronics with art, and be a fun way to show off your maker prowess.

Jeffrey is one such maker who built his own infinity mirror and has it proudly mounted on his wall. To inspire other makers to do the same, Jeffrey submitted details on his completed build via our website.

Thank you for sharing your project with our readers, Jeffrey. First, tell our readers a little about yourself and what got you into electronics.

My interest in electronics began at age 14 as I was just transitioning into my high school career. It was obvious to me that engineering was a passion of mine; I would always find myself deconstructing devices and tinkering with them as I observe their operation. For example, I once took the casing off of a game console in an attempt to figure out the different components that help it to operate. This eventually got me interested in the First Robotics program where I have been participating and competing for multiple years. More recently, I’ve been working on leading my peers in training of electrical as it pertains to the program.

Seeing what is “under the hood” of different electronic gadgets is a great way for makers to learn. We noticed you are quite active on Instagram and YouTube. Are these to inspire other makers?

Yes. As I began to realize how passionate I was for electronics and engineering, I decided I wanted to share my progress with the world. This gave me the idea to start Circuit E Makes, which is a series of media pages created to showcase various Electronics and Electrical Engineering projects. Though I initially began Circuit E with the intent of showcasing my electronics and engineering projects, I have come to appreciate the idea of sharing my experiences and inspiring others to learn about their passion. Now, I receive messages from college students requesting advice for their engineering classes. As I progress, I hope to inspire others to unleash their creativity and to spark an interest in those who have a natural drive to invent.

It’s great that the maker community is always willing to share ideas and to provide free advice. Tell us, what motivated you to make your infinity mirror?

The infinite LED Mirror was based initially on various requests on my media pages to recreate the project that many others had designed, along with adding my own creative modifications. This was not only my first project, but also the kickstart to my online social presence.

We see you have also added a remote control. Is that to control the colours?

Initially, the mirror was set to loop in a pattern that was preset in the code. However, one of the modifications I made was to utilize an infrared sensor for remote accessibility to control the colour of the LED lights. The IR remote sends a signal to the receiver which allows me to set 10 different colours, a rainbow setting, and a strobe pattern.

Matrix keypad to control the LED colours and patterns

The matrix keypad was added before I decided I wanted the project to be remote controlled. At that point in time, I was very unfamiliar with sensors, especially IR receivers. After I decided to learn more about IR devices, I implemented the sensor and programmed the same settings as they correspond with the keypad.

Did you write the code from scratch or did you remix someone else's?

As for the code, I initially derived it from a public library in an attempt to learn more about the components. Once I did that, I completely rewrote and freestyle my own script.

What design and build challenges did you need to overcome?

Throughout the process, it became fairly challenging to accurately portray the illusion I was attempting to master. It became a matter of trial and error.

I often ran into the problem of the LEDs having a strong glare on the mirror. This would ultimately distort the illusion I was trying to create. My solution was to find a suitable transparency for my two way mirror. I began testing a darker and less transparent material in which I was able to accurately display the illusion without taking away from the brightness too much.

Troubleshooting can be a fun part of the process as long as there’s success in the end. If you were to start over, what would you do differently?

As I look back at what I may want to change about this project, I reflect upon my use of wire management. I’m sure, as I keep practicing, my skills in this area will become more proficient.

It can be common for us makers to eagerly rush into a project and have messy wiring as a result. Putting a little more effort into tidy wiring as we build can help avoid the project failing over time too.

Is there anything that we haven't covered that our readers should know?

It's important to note that I made this project with the intention of learning. I expected that I was likely going to make mistakes during the build, and find this a great way to learn.

That’s all part of the fun when making. What are you working on next?

I plan to work on recreating a smaller version of the famous Nikola Tesla's Tesla coil, and to continue to inspire others on social media accounts.

Great! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. We’re sure our readers will DM you via your social accounts if they plan to build one for themselves and have questions.

Jeffrey B.

Jeffrey B.

16yo student and electronics enthusiast, USA.