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Digi-Key Celebrates Lunar New Year of the Dog

20 February 2018

The arrival of the Lunar New Year sparks a huge celebration in China, starting a few weeks after the Gregorian calendar's January 1 New Year's Day. There are several iconic decorations for Chinese New Year, like a dancing lion, firecrackers and red lanterns. All of these are used to scare Nian (meaning year) away. Digi-Key shows you how to easily animate some of these decorations.

One of the most iconic decorations is the red paper lantern. Digi-Key's applications engineers decided to make eight, a lucky number in China. In each lantern is a Neopixel ring with 12 addressable RGBW LEDs on each, totaling 96 individual LEDs. Neopixel rings are convenient because when linked together they are treated like one string and allow you to update a few of the LEDs at a time and send out the changes, making it easier to control each lantern separately.

The other popular decoration we animated is the Dancing Lion. These puppets are usually seen dancing around in celebration. To simulate a dancing lion, the engineers used two servo motors to make its head move side to side and mouth open and close. Two-panel mount LEDs were fit into the eyes to make them “glow” green. Then the team 3D printed a mount for each servo, a pulley for the mouth control servo and a cap for the other servo.

Digi-Key wishes everyone a happy and prosperous Lunar New Year of the Dog, and they hope you will use the tutorial to make your own lanterns and dancing lion for your Lunar New Year celebration.

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