Network Controlled Decorative LED Matrix Frame

LED-Pixel-FrameThere is nothing better than a project that you can put on display for all to see. [Tristan’s] most recent project, a Decorative LED Matrix Frame, containing 12×10 big square pixels that can display any color, is really cool.

Having been built around a cheap IKEA photo frame this project is very doable, at least for those of you with a 3D printer. The 3D printer is needed to create the pixel grid, which ends up looking very clean in the final frame. From an electronics perspective, the main components are a set of Adafruit Neopixel LED strips, and an Arduino Uno with an Ethernet shield. The main controller even contains a battery backup for the real time clock (RTC) when the frame is unplugged; a nice touch. Given that the frame is connected to the local network, [Tristan] designed the frame to be controlled by a simple HTML5 interface (code available on GitHub). This allows any locally connected device to control the frame.

Be sure to check out the build details, they are very well done. If you are still not convinced how cool this project is, be sure to check out a video of it in action after the break! It makes us wish that you could play Tetris on this frame. Very nice job [Tristan]!

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Building a Raspberry PI Digital Photo Frame


Digital photo frames aren’t very interesting on their own these days, but building one with a Raspberry Pi and strapping it with a bunch of useful features just might motivate you to check out this tutorial on building a ‘living’ digital photo frame.

This is [Samuel’s] first project with the Raspberry Pi, so he decided to build a digital photo frame that has the ability to download random pictures from his Flicker account and display them in a slideshow format. With all that extra IO on the Raspi, it was easy to incorporate a status LED and PIR sensor. When motion is detected by the PIR sensor, the photo frame is enabled; after 60 seconds of no movement, the photo frame is disabled by turning off the monitor port.

We love finding detailed write-ups like this because there is so much useful information in here like using the Flicker API, GPIO control, image handling, how to configure scripts to run on boot-up, and even some great troubleshooting code.  If you’d rather ditch the Raspi altogether and take things down a few levels, check out this PIC based 100% DIY digital picture frame.

Framing up your electronics projects


[Victor] may be onto something when it comes to project enclosures. He’s using a picture frame to house his electronics projects. This is made especially easy by the variety of sizes you can find at Ikea. Possibly the most important dimension is to have enough frame thickness to sandwich your components between the glass and the back plate of the frame.

The project seen here is a temperature data logger. The frosted diffuser covering everything but the LCD screen and gives you a glimpse of what’s mounted to the back panel. He connected the four different protoboard components, along with a battery pack, to each other use right angle pin headers. They were then strapped to the back plate of the frame by drilling some holes through which a bit of wire was threaded. He even cut a hole to get at the socket for the temperature sensor and to attach the power input. So that he doesn’t need to open the frame to get at the data, the SD card slot is also accessible. His depth adjustment was made by adding standoffs at each corner of the frame, and replacing the metal wedges that hold the back in place.

You don’t need to limit yourself with just one. This UV exposure rig uses three Ikea frames.

Scary Putin guards your stash

If anyone tries to take anything from this coin bank they’re going to have to brave the creepy looks that [Vladimir Putin] gives them. That’s because [Overflo] rigged up the wall hanging to react when you approach it. It’s all in the eyes, which open and turn red based on your proximity to the picture frame.

The frame itself is the ugliest thing [Overflo] could find at Ikea. He spray painted it gold and added an image of [Putin] with a zany background. At rest [Vlad] has his eyes closed. But the lids are connected to a servo motor to pull against the spring that keeps them shut. An infrared proximity sensor is used to trigger the eyelids when you get relatively close, but if you reach out your hand it will even light up the red LEDs hidden in the pupils of the eyes. See a demonstration of the setup in the video after the break.

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Digital picture frame that rotates to match image orientation

This digital picture frame physically rotates in order to match the image’s orientation. [Markus Gritsch] built the frame, including a Python script to translate the photos to a format which makes the best use of the 2.4″ LCD screen.

The screen is addressed in 8-bit parallel by a PIC 32MX120F032B processor. Image are read from an SD card in a raw format, with 16-bit colors pushed to the display for each pixel. To get them into this format [Markus’] script converts the JPEG files to RAW, resizes them, uses dithering to reduce to 16-bit color, then applies a sharpening filter to improve the final look. During this process it also includes orientation information. That is parsed by the microcontroller and used to drive the servo motor to which the screen is attached.

To finish off the project he spray painted a piece of acrylic to act as a bezel for the frame. Check out the demo after the break and we think you’ll agree the rotating feature, along with image scrolling, really makes this a piece you’ll want on your own desk.

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Let there be light inside picture frames

[Limpkin] picked up a beautiful painting of Budda while in Bali because he thought it would react well with different colors of lighting. His overall goal was to create a picture frame with built-in LEDs. The major design specification for the project was to provide an indirect light source that would not shine in the viewers eyes. He got down to business designing a frame using SolidWorks for his modelling. The final design has a separate track from the paining with small dividers for each diode.

After about four hours on the CNC machine it was time to get down to soldering. [Limpkin] had 576 RGB LEDs on hand. He’s not looking to drive them individually, just to have independent control of each color. This makes the soldering a bit easier as there will be just three MOSFETs to drive each color. The final product looks great and can display any mix of colored light. Not bad for 50 hours of soldering.

DIY picture frame better than store bought

[Daniel’s] homemade digital picture frame looks great, it’s well-built, and it has a nice set of features. It’s not made from a broken laptop and he didn’t build it around a microcontroller. Instead, he saved a 19″ LCD monitor with a burnt out back light caused by the extremely common blown capacitor problem. Twenty dollars on eBay landed him a small industrial single board computer to drive the system.

The software end of things is a curious conglomeration but considering the hardware constraints [Daniel] made some great choices. He’s using MS-DOS along with LxPic for slide shows and Mplayer for video. The rest of the software gets him up on the home network and enables IR remote control via LIRC. All o this makes for a beautiful product (video after the break includes some Doom footage) and the package is pulling just 40W when in use.