For some time I wanted to make bats (actually their flight tracks) more visible. Around that time Tony (from Las Vegas, NV) visited us again and we discussed the topic. Tony started drawing schematics and then we started soldering a prototype. The tests were promising and so I started building more of the „blinken bats“ (we just combined some german and english words). The device consists of a „simple bat detector“ (developed by Tony), some LEDs and a PIC-processor, which controls the LEDs and a transparent case. A bat call triggers the LEDs and then they slowly fade off.

a row of blinkenbats being triggered by a passing bat

After some public bat events we decided to create a kit – Tony made a board (and added more LEDs to increase the „blinken“ effect) and I adopted and improved the software. The first kit was driven by a PIC processor and used simple LEDs. Since then the Arduino environment has made it much easier to program and flash processors. So that we switched to ATMEL processors and used „neopixel“ LEDs for color effects.

blinkenbat 2 (PIC, single color)