Video display from RGB strips makes it seem so easy

[Fabien] wrote in to share a link to this RGB video display which he made. He’s got some pretty cool routines that make it more functional than you would think, but first we want to comment on the construction. He used an RGB strip, which makes this look like an incredibly simple build. The strip has a data and power bus running the length of it. You can it into smaller segments, then just solder jumper wires to reconnect the buses. That’s exactly what he did here, making it what must be the fastest method of putting together a display of this size (16×10 pixels).

It’s driven by a Netduino which easily addresses the LPD8806 drivers responsible for the LEDs. It gets input from a computer via Xbee, making it easy to include data from the net, or to push visualizations. The video after the break shows a [Van Gogh] self-portrait. Since 160 pixel resolution wouldn’t do it justice, the visualization software shows a zoomed in portion of the painting which is constantly panning to let you see the entire work. It’s a fabulous effect.


  1. DanAdamKOF says:

    Very clever :)

  2. demacus says:

    hmm, you call it clever to store a value of a max range of 127 into a full byte?

    am i the only one who is missing the hacky part a little on those (mostly overkilled) arduino “hacks”?

  3. spudw says:

    awesome, I am working a project very similar to this except the LED strips use a much less effective IC (HL1606, covered on this site before) and wasn’t planning for any wireless components. Looks great dude!

  4. Scott says:

    It looks like the spacing of the LEDs on the strip control the resolution of this (closer spacing = more LED/area) – could you lay strips “vertically” between the columns of LEDs on the transverse strips to increase resolution?

  5. angevelon says:

    do you think you could combine the display and controller with more display’s/controllers and multiplex them to drive a larger display? I think that would be cool to scale it up to a large format display.

  6. grovenstien says:

    Ive been thinking of doing something similar for a while. This is a good start. Can you buy RGB strips with a closer pixel pitch?

  7. Frollard says:

    I’m doing the same now, but working with sparkfun WS2801 strips (32led/meter)

    I found Daniel Garcia’s fastspi code amazing to use hardware spi to address the leds — tens of thousands of led updates per second with the humble arduino. *(google search arduino fastspi)

    Currently just making procedural animations, but next step is to feed it video or other data to make the strips do something amazing.

  8. Ethan says:

    Pretty cool, Ive been thinking of doing something similar for a while. BTW, can you buy these LPD8806 RGB flex strips , as they are 119 bucks, much cheaper than at Adafruit.

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