Maker Faire 2008: ShiftBright RGB LED Module

We made a point to stop by [garrett]’s booth at Maker Faire to to see what he had been working on. You may remember him from his random caps locker shenanigans. He’s just recently released the ShiftBright RGB LED module which makes it easy to implement a string of individually addressable LEDs. The module is based on the Allegro A6281 3-Channel Constant Current LED Driver. The driver chip is capable of displaying a billion colors using an RGB LED. The 3x3mm package is mounted to the backside of the board while a bright common-anode RGB is mounted to the front. The modules are designed to be daisy chained together and are individually addressed using a serial interface. You can find Arduino example code on the site and more info on how the item was developed. Read on for close up images.

11 thoughts on “Maker Faire 2008: ShiftBright RGB LED Module

  1. Great idea for a case mod where the color changes depending on the temperature of whatever you wish to monitor. I can just picture computers swimming with different colors as you crank up your favorite game in a dark room.

  2. Now if only the driver/interface was incorporated inside the RGB LEDs (and also would have a 1-wire interface), this could be a bit smaller.
    If they can place 3 dies on a LED, why don’t they add one more for the “blinking”?

  3. It seems a waste of the chip to only be driving a single LED. I got some samples of that chip and it can do 9 outputs, so it would be a great idea to make a taller module with 3 leds on it IMO.

    BTW, soldering wirewrap to that chip is a total nightmare! Makes chipping a ps2 look easy in comparison.

  4. I saw the Radiohead show in Charlotte the other day and they had something probably like this, and I was imagining that a solution exactly like this would be the way to do it. I figured it would be 1-wire controlled or some such. They had what looked like ropes hung from the catwalk above the stage spaced at about 6″ apart in various lengths hanging down, and they looked to have a whole bunch of individually controllable RGB LEDs down the length of the “rope”, with about 1-2″ of vertical resolution each. They displayed complex moving and static patterns and occasionally scrolled letters across them. I was thinking that they were using a projector at first but the images were way too precise to be done that way. That had to have been a few tens of thousands of these gadgets, though…. guess cost isn’t really an object at a big rock show like that. It was one of their major props.

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