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.

15 thoughts on “Video display from RGB strips makes it seem so easy

  1. 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”?

    1. Yes, you are missing the point. It’s not a matter of people having the best, most optimized code, it’s a matter of people trying new things. Making Microcontrollers easier to get started with has opened up a lot of creative minds to new possibilities. Instead of incredulously berating them for poor use of memory, offer them an idea of how it could have been made better. Criticism without offers of guidance is rarely constructive.

    2. 127 bits – 7 bytes…..
      So if it were you you’d use a retarded, overly complicated data format just to save 20 bytes of data per panel that isn’t in use anyway?

      I admire your inteligence, but sometimes you just need common sense :p

  2. 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!

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

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