StripInvaders puts colored lights everywhere

There’s not much to be gained by living in a discotheque but colored lights are awesome, especially when they’re as well implemented as [michu]’s StripInvaders.

The StripInvaders project takes a gigantic 5 meter LED strip with WS2801 controllers and turns it into an Ethernet-enabled 24 bit display with the new Arduino Ethernet. While the Ethernet-enabled may seem a little superflous, [michu] implements it quite nicely. The entire 5 meter LED strip can be controlled from a tablet or smartphone.

Apart from a tablet/smartphone interface with OSC, there’s also mDNS support so we’re sure the StripInvaders could make for an interesting LAN party with the appropriate scripts. While the cost of the LED strip itself is fairly high, we’re sure some Hack a Day commenter will come up with a cheaper solution.

The firmware for StripInvaders has been posted on Github, but for a real treat, check out the demo after the break.

13 thoughts on “StripInvaders puts colored lights everywhere

  1. Meritline has a 16′ RGB controllable LED strip for less than $50. By the time you make your own controller, buying the Arduino and Ethernet shield, you could do it at about half price

    1. Righteous. I’m thinking 5m non-adressable LED strip, chop it up into three LED units, three shift registers plus phone cable, atmega88 and a Ethernet breakout.

      The hard work (IMO, that OSC setup) is FOSS.

      Bully!

    2. Neat strip and great price, but that strip isn’t individually addressable… so the whole strip can only be one RBG color at a time!

  2. A cool project. I like the tablet interface.

    AdaFruit has several varieties of LED strips – individually addressable and all-one-color. Along with a number of tutorials, code libraries, etc. http://www.adafruit.com/category/37

    Cool Neon has their awesome Total Control Lighting product, as well as led strips (and EL wire of course)

    http://www.coolneon.com/2011/08/13/introduction-to-total-control-lighting-from-cool-neon/

    Both shops have terrific customer service via web/email.

  3. Yeah, dont buy their overpriced strip. you can buy cheaper all over the internet. I bought a 5m strip for less than $45.00 shipped from china. very simple serial protocol and easy to address. >$200US for their heavily marked up strip is a crime.

      1. google “addressable RGB LED strip”

        http://www.adafruit.com/products/306 for a cheaper than theirs, but still very expensive version that is far better as it does all the PWM work for you. it was the first hit.

        I got mine off ebay. I have 6 led’s per foot, all addressable but I have to keep sending PWM data to get more colors, the newer stuff like from adafruit are far better and will be common soon.

  4. Nice you talk about the project.. oh no you just complain about the price of a led strip in a shop. You’re absolutly free to buy your stuff wherever you want!

    And if you compare led strips, make sure you’re talking about the same type of strip (digital vs. analog), with the same amount of controllable leds (is each led adressable or only a cluster of 3 leds…), with the same features (color resolution, how easy its to drive those leds).

    cheers!

  5. Of course people will comment about the cost of the hardware and suggest alternatives. Brian made that suggestion towards the end of the article. It doesn’t take anything away from your project and I don’t think anyone has been rude about it.

  6. I like the project. My noting AdaFruit & CoolNeon as alternatives was meant more for western hemisphere (USA, etc) folks. I note there are quite a few different LED Strips – some are strips one piece, enclosed in waterproofing.. others are more components strung together on wires. Some are single color, some are RGB but display one color at a time. Some are pixel addressable.

    One tricky part for these LED Strip projects is there are several different controllers with different capabilities. And often there isnt alot of info on the controller. Adafruit has two varieties of addressable RGB strip with different controllers & libraries. (Neither are WS2801) These are different from the CoolNeon variety. I dont know what that strip uses as controller.

    I do see the code used in this project is derived at least in part from the AdaFruit demo code… with attribution.

  7. Ahh the WS2801 controller used by michu’s tape strip is the same as the one used in the AdaFruit LED strand (bulbs with wires) … http://www.adafruit.com/products/322 .. there is also a driver lib for it at adafruit. Michu has done some updates (forks) of this and some other adafruit libs at their GitHub root. Go up one and get the sw dependencies when you visit to grab StripInvader code.

    There are occasions when buying cheap from ebay/china makes sense, but I prefer to spend a few extra $ to support developers like AdaFruit and Michu, etc. They gotta earn a living and deserve some compensation for the support/documentation/cool ideas they provide.

    I think the main innovation of this project is the tablet interface – which could be used with many other arduino controlled experiences. Have you (Michu or others) considered a bluetooth interface instead of ethernet?

    Thanks Michu!

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