If you were going to point towards one thing that has powered the ability for hobbyists to make more and more interesting gadgets at home, development boards like those made by Arduino would come to mind. On the other hand, they need something to do, and programmable LEDs, commonly in strip form, often fill this role. Strips have been used in everything from blinking costumes, to indicators, to persistence of vision (POV) displays that trick your eyes into turning a moving image into something solid.
LED strips are quite flexible, making them great for adapting to your particular project, for instance if you need to stick them on the inside of a circular curve. On the other hand, flexibility isn’t always appropriate for a particular project, and sometimes you need them to stay in place. Or as Tindie seller Dnil puts it, “I love playing with addressable LED strips, but I found they were squirrely if I wanted something permanent.”
After considering this problem, he made a rigid exoskeleton to which an LED strip can be soldered. The strip and exoskeleton are simply tinned up, then heated through the exoskeleton’s through-hole pads to secure both in place. Power and data can be applied at the end, or via a second set of pads on the side, allowing rigid strips to be chained together in several orientations.
The exoskeletons feature M3 mounting holes, and because of how things are attached, the sticky side of the strips can still be used. This makes a great place to attach a small dev board, such as an Arduino Nano.