IIT Chain

From Idea Shop Wiki


IIT Chain by Joe Ricker (joericker.net)


These are the humble beginnings of the IIT Chain…


The original idea was to drive a set of LED’s that spell out IIT using a low-power Attiny microcontroller. We were able to do this, however I had more ambitious goals for this project.

If we wanted to use this as a soldering kit, I needed to make the more difficult components surface-mount. So, I decided to rethink the project entirely.

In its first revision, if flipped over the board will actually spell TII instead of IIT as intended.

Back to the breadboard


This revision of the IIT Chain uses an LED matrix to display text and images that can be programmed by the user.

To make sure the key-chain would be long-lasting, I used an Attiny to drive the chip that controls the LED matrix.

However, there was no library to control the LED Driver I selected with an Attiny. So, I created my own I2C library, and I’m writing a tutorial to teach students to program it.

Next Steps


IIT-Chain 1.3 was given out at Illinois Tech’s February 2020 Scholarship Symposium event! The future of this board is to include a USB programmer to allow students to program it completely on their own, and become inspired to pursue STEAM education just like I was.