Reaching Infinity

Creating Optical Illusions with Technology

Core Electronics

Issue 5, November 2017

With technology on their side, Core Electronics came up with a creative way to launch their latest kit.

We here at DIYODE Magazine recently discovered a unique Infinity Mirror from Core Electronics, which looks like it has impossible depth. The early response to this product was so impressive, they launched a Kickstarter campaign for their desktop kit version. It’s a fantastic creation, so we caught up with the project’s leader Graham Mitchell, to find out more.

We first saw your Infinity Mirror on Facebook, where you had presented a prototype as a coffee table. It was really awesome to look at; how did that project come about?

Like all seasoned makers, we too have an ever-growing collection of project ideas. And we add to that list whenever we get spur-of-the-moment ideas or inspiration. In the case of the Infinity Mirror Coffee Table, it was already a well-known community project that we penned to build our own creative version of; but the table moved up on the list when we landed surplus WS2812 LED strips - we knew that something glorious had to be made!

What hardware components does the Infinity Mirror use?

At the heart is a Particle Photon. It’s one of our favourite platforms with a 120MHz processor and built-in WiFi (which enables hassle-free, over-the-air updates). Lighting is powered by a strip of WS2812 RGB LEDs. Each LED has a built-in chip, which allows you to daisy-chain the LEDs and control them individually, all from a single GPIO. The constant-current driver in each LED ensures that colour remains consistent, even if supply-voltage varies slightly from the optimal 5V. There’s also a potentiometer for controlling the mode. Power is managed via the Particle Photon’s onboard regulator. There are two mirrors, and one is semi-transparent. Put everything together, and you’ve got a neat effect!

The Particle Photon brain.
The Particle Photon brain.
Mounting the Particle Photon and hardware.
Mounting the Particle Photon and hardware.

That’s awesome! It’s a reasonably simple idea, but fascinating to watch! What visual effects are available with the lighting installed?

Each LED is addressable, so it is limited only by what you can come up with. We’ve built three patterns so far:

  • A continuously rotating rainbow.
  • A comet which has a leading bright pixel and a tail of diminishing brightness.
  • Static colour with variable brightness. We’re working on some others too, which will be revealed later in the Kickstarter campaign.
Addressable LEDs line the case.
Addressable LEDs line the case.

Upgradeable artwork? Even better! Was there much trial and error with different materials to get the effects right?

We got lucky. Our intuition led us to a solid design for both the table and desktop version. With that said, there was a face-palm moment while building the larger table – when we quickly realised we had overlooked the adage “measure twice, cut once”. The table ended up a little wider than we first planned, although we had a well-played recovery none-the-less. Perhaps people at Maker Faire Adelaide will spot the minor width difference of our Infinity Mirror Table verses our main project display tables? Either way, it adds fibre to the story!

Partially constructed.
Partially constructed.

It sounds like it was a long time coming, but worth the wait for sure! The original project was MUCH larger than the Kickstarter desktop version. What was the reason for the change in size - practicality or market appeal?

We set out to make this kit as viable as possible, so it was scoped with makers in mind. We talked at length about the right size, how it would be displayed, what the ongoing value was, and the price. The desktop format won hands-down for those reasons.

It definitely has a broader appeal. Though we’re secretly hanging for a coffee-table version for DIYODE HQ! Any tips for someone else considering a Kickstarter with their idea?

Perhaps these-days, Kickstarter brings to the table the social proof that you’re in it ‘till the end. Don’t expect Kickstarter to promote your project, or leave it to hope that the internet will make your project go viral. What you can expect though, is that the team at Kickstarter have worked hard to create a crowdfunding resource that is reliable and trusted; but you need to do the rest. Your marketing plan is the backbone of the project – if you don’t have an existing audience to broadcast to, then perhaps go outside the box and consider other ways to generate momentum. Either way, that part is up to you and it’s best to have a solid plan.

Great advice; so many awesome ideas fail to get the backing they need due to poor planning. What potential upgrades exist for this project, planned or total spit-balling?

Planned – tutorials that show people how to code their own patterns. We’ll also show people how to connect their device to the internet, and use the pattern effects to portray information.

Amazing! Like an Infinity Mood Board, or Infinity Temperature Display? Sounds awesome. Has this inspired other projects along a similar line?

We now have a laser cutter and we’re all creatively wired here at Core Electronics. Of course, our list of projects has no end. Sure, most of them are just for fun, but that’s an important part of the maker lifestyle.

laser cutter hard at work
The Core Electronics laser cutter hard at work.

It sounds like deciding what NOT to take to market, is going to be the more difficult decision! Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about this project?

As mentioned, this project marks an important milestone for the team at Core Electronics. We mean it when we say we’re humbled by the maker community’s show of support for our Kickstarter. Also, if ever you are picking up an order from us here in Newcastle (NSW, Australia), keep an eye out for the Desktop Infinity Mirror Table. We have it setup in the foyer and you’re always welcome to check it out and see what recent things we’ve done with it.

Awesome. Thanks for taking us through the project, Graham!

The Kickstarter Campaign:

We were humbled to see the Australian maker community so quickly back us for this project. I left my 12-year career in the Air Force in 2016 to join the team full time here at Core Electronics. One of my goals was to build our own style of maker kits, right here in Newcastle. Since then, there has been gradual yet continuous momentum right up to the launch of the Kickstarter. Anyone who follows our social circles likely noticed these efforts, along with our daily commitment to foster the Australian maker community.

They also have full instructions online for a coffee table version!

While the Kickstarter is wrapped up, you’ll still be able to check it out at: http://kck.st/2y9BswN

the team


The final design took a few weeks, and all ten of our small team here in Newcastle were involved in some way.

Design & Fabrication: Michael Ruppe

Testing & Feedback: Aidan Caelli

Marketing & Support: Sam Spencer

Logistics: Gordon Marshall, Royden Nicholson, Jordan Dodd, Emerson Sims

Purchasing: Patrick Huolohan Brenton Ridley

Project Lead: Graham Mitchell

For those who missed the Kickstarter campaign but would still like one:

Buy The Kit : Core Electronics
Desktop Infinity Mirror CE05000
Core Electronics

Core Electronics