Tasked with monitoring over a dozen PCs in a laboratory setting, Physics professor 'Dr Ayers' has created a complex monitoring device with a very simple and informative display. By using red/green LEDs each PCs status can be determined at a glance. The monitor's host computer runs a cron job once per minute to check the network PCs, and the status for each PC is shown with an LED (red = problem, green = OK, yellow = no idea). Finally the whole lot fits in a standard 5.25" drive bay, for example:
A very 1960s display for a 21st century problem. For the required code and notes, check out the project page. And for more, we're on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.
If you're looking to make your own status indicator but need more than three colours - consider the Freetronics RGBLED: module. It includes a bright RGB LED on the top of the board and a WS2801 constant-current, addressable, multi-channel LED driver on the back. This smart module can be daisy-chained, so you can connect a number of these together in a string and drive each of the module colours individually from your microcontroller. For more information and to order, visit the product page.