Making a Mega LED Desk

Few things beat a sturdy, home-built desk — especially when it’s jam-packed with over 1200 WS2812 LEDs.

[nolobot] and his bother struggled with setting up and squaring-off the t-slotted, extruded aluminium frame which makes up the desk. He recommends practicing with a smaller frame for anyone else attempting a similar build. The surface of the desk has a few inches between the polycarbonate top and the 1/4″ plywood painted black serving as the substrate for the LEDs. Those LEDs come in strip form but still required several hundred solders, and wiring headaches in an attempt to make future upgrades manageable. Dozens of support bolts with adjustable feet support the desk surface throughout. These all had to be individually adjusted and can be made out if you look closely at the demo videos.

An Arduino Mega controls the LEDs with the help of the FastLED library. Custom code was necessary because one of the major issues [nolobot] faced was the power draw. 1200 LEDs at 5V draw quite a bit of current, so the LEDs were coded to peak at about 50% brightness. The matrix was split into different banks, while also limiting the 40A PSU to only 15A.

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Capturing that (light field) moment

Yes, your eyes do not lie, that is 12 cameras rigged to take a picture at the exact same moment. The idea is a single camera loses data (namely depth) when it takes a 3D image and transposes it onto a 2D medium. FuturePicture somewhat circumvents this loss by taking several pictures with different focus distances. In short, the camera array allows you to focus on multiple items within a scene. The project’s hardware and software have yet to be released (we do know it’s at least Arduino), but they plan to make it entirely open source so everyone can experiment. Of course, we’ll keep you up to date.
[via Make]