Age: 16 Inspiration: The LED Array didn't work Purpose: Revamp the LED array so that my robotics team could display important messages Significance: This was one of the first times I had to make my design fit the exact specs of another device which it would be mated to.
My robotics coach had this LED Array sitting in his room, but he didn't know where the keyboard was for it, so he gave it to me to try to fix. This whopping board has 2,688 LEDs all of which work and are controlled by shift registers. According to my teacher he had given this display to every electrical lead on the team before me and no one in his 10 or so years of doing this had ever fixed it. Give me a few weeks I told him. When I opened the container I found a giant control board (last picture in the slide show), and when I was finished I had the custom electronics board seen above implementing an ATMEGA32u4. Other than announcing meetings and important information for the robotics team, this board successfully asked a girl out (I suggested this, but it wasn't me), and was featured in the school's newspaper (http://hilite.org/archives/32525). This board now hangs proudly in the window of my robotics coach's room facing the main hallway in the school.
This board not only taught me a couple of lessons in troubleshooting, but also in board design when I had to remake the board because I had forgotten to mirror the only two through hole components.