Wall Hanging LED Board (2014)

I built a huge wall-mounted LED matrix, 2’x4’ with 20x10 LEDs, and wrote various visual effects for it. I was inspired by several other LED builds like the PixelBrite.

  • It contains 200 daisy-chained WS2801 LED modules.
  • Custom wood frame and foamcore grid to isolate pixels from each other and diffuse the lighting.
  • Controller started off as an Arduino, upgraded to a Teensy, later moved to a Raspberry Pi.
Music visualizer I wrote for the LED board, running on a Teensy 3.1 microcontroller. Each row is a frequency band, higher frequencies at top. The background brightness is controlled by bass frequencies. Check out the drop at 0:17.

Here’s a photo gallery of the build.

At various points, it’s been capable of:

  • Playing my own implementation of Tetris
  • Visual simulations: fire simulation; simplex noise simulations (clouds); metaballs visualization (blob effect)
  • Video loop playback
  • Real-time audio visualizer
  • Streaming video over serial connection, for use with the GLEDIATOR matrix control software.
  • Hand-coded graphics libraries to draw lines and shapes (with anti-aliasing!).
  • Arduino-based text rendering from a bitmap font. To overcome the storage limitations of the Arduino, I wrote a small Python utility to take my own font designed in BitFontMaker and store them into a dense bit vector, which is then compiled into the C program.