Real-time Driving of RGB LED Cube using Unity3D

RGB LED cubes are great, but building the cube is only half the battle – they also need to be driven. The larger the cube, the bigger the canvas you have to exercise your performance art, and the more intense the data visualization headache. This project solves the problem by using Unity to drive an RGB LED cube in real-time.

Landscape animation RGB Cube - smallWe’re not just talking about driving the LEDs themselves at a low level, but how you what you want to display in each of those 512 pixels.

In the video, you can see [TylerTimoJ]’s demo of an 8x8x8 cube being driven in real-time using the Unity engine. A variety of methods are demonstrated from turning individual LEDs on and off, coloring swaths of the cube as though with a paintbrush, and even having the cube display source image data in real-time (as shown on the left.)

Using Unity3D to drive an 8x8x8 RGB cube shows results, but does require a computer to do the heavy lifting. In the past we have seen some beautiful animations from RGB cubes, for example from this LED cube driven by an Arduino MEGA, but they don’t have the flexibility this method offers.

The cube itself is what you would expect. At the end of his project explanation video, [TylerTimoJ] walks through the hardware, which is a multiplexed system. Each layer has common anodes, with the cathodes extending downward to the base. 192 connections are drive by an Arduino which is receiving the Unity stream over USB.

You probably recognize [TylerTimoJ’s] username. We just covered another amazing project he’s been working on: a scratch-built solenoid radial engine that is simply exquisite.

Thanks to [supershwa] for the tip!

12 thoughts on “Real-time Driving of RGB LED Cube using Unity3D

        1. We are not alone. I’m sure that the Asgard race would detect it. Opp’s, maybe you are right.
          : )
          I hated Atlantis for some reason until waaaaay late. Then I was hooked!
          Trinity is one of my favorite episodes. (Had to do this.)
          http://www.therobotsvoice.com/2012/07/the_10_best_stargate_episodes_of_rodney_mckay_1.php
          Dammit Google! I just read that there is an Atlantis movie comming out! NOPE. Canceled?
          .
          3D ‘PONG’ for the cube. Or run MP3 data through it as a visualization of compressed music. 192 bitrate should have been the default setting for encoders.

          1. I’ve got all the shows and movies.
            Me and the family watch them over and over again.
            You know I think its time to watch them all over again.
            Thanks.

            OH YEA, great job on the display. I could only imagine how a larger display would look. Like around 128 x 128 or larger.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unity_engine

    Excerpt:

    Unity is a cross-platform game engine developed by Unity Technologies[4] and used to develop video games for PC, consoles, mobile devices and websites. First announced only for OS X, at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in 2005, it has since been extended to target twenty one platforms.[5][6] It is the default software development kit (SDK) for the Wii U.[7] Five major versions of Unity have been released. At the 2006 WWDC trade show, Apple Inc. named Unity as the runner up for its Best Use of Mac OS X Graphics category.

    End of Excerpt:

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