Volver is a 3.75 inch square LED matrix that will display over 1600 unique patterns. Designed by members of Image Node and Disorient, it is a fundraiser for burning man 2009. While it is certainly less colorful than its older sibling the Nodeblinky, it features 8 more LEDs and a bit smoother and faster graphics. Volver can be picked up as a kit, or fully assembled from their site. Just like last time, you don’t have to buy from them. They freely offer the source code and schematics.

17 thoughts on “Volver

  1. Ok, im a total newb so im going to ask straight out: What do people use stuff like this for? i cant think of anything that wasnt a mcdonalds toy that used a small LED matrix. these things are on hack a day all the time but they never show any uses for them. we have 100×100 lcds that can fit on my thumb nail so commercial uses are almost out of the question. what are these things for? (im not being sarcastic, i really want to know.)

  2. Pretty cool :)
    One sentence got me though:

    To get more battery life, you can replace the 7805 with a LDO regulator with the same pinout like the LM2940.

    Now, how is that going to happen without lowering the input voltage ?

  3. You don’t need to lower the input voltage for a LDO regulator to work — it’ll just give you more juice out of your 9V battery as its output voltage lowers. Unfortunately, we had to keep costs down on the project.

    To daisy-chain these, you’d have to add RS485 — we have a project that does this that I’ve been meaning to open-source, and hopefully will get around to doing that soon. These are meant to be individual wearables, though.

    To the quizzical/haters, people like this stuff because… it’s art. Look up Leo Villareal or Jim Campbell to get an idea of this stuff on a larger scale. Also at Burning Man it’s important to be lit up at night so you don’t get run over by an intoxicated biker/art car driver, and this does a lovely job of it.

  4. Very unwise parts use for kit, It would be OK for individual project but overdue for kit
    Mega168 (no need of such power)
    LED Driver Chip (parallel led connection and transistor key)

  5. Nice, the use of brightness control makes all the difference. This uses an ATMega168 and an Allegro A6279 serial-input constant-current latched LED driver (a couple of bucks in medium volume). I agree with therian; hardware overkill for the application.

    But the video says there were 20+ contributing artists. Maybe they chose the hardware to make the software easier to deal with. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re using the Arduino bootloader and toolchain. (I haven’t looked closely enough at the hardware and software yet.)

    @ $45 – ouch. Burning man burn a hole in my wallet. They would have made a lot more money had they priced this thing reasonably. Oh but wait a minute – burning man people buy overpriced iphones don’t they?

  6. We needed to use the Mega168 because we needed all 16K of codespace for the pattern data — we have an external app for generating patterns that saves them as packed data, which we put in program memory. Also the Avr is doing 36 channels of 8-bit PWM, so it’s almost taxed out, between the PWM and the pattern engine…

    We are definitely pro blinky-as-scary-sex toy.

    If we were selling 1000 of these, we probably could have gotten the price down another $5-7, but it’s an edition of 200. As for the price, sorry if you think it’s expensive — the BOM is more than half the price, minus shipping + Paypal shank fee, and we gots to raise some funds somehow.

    Anyway just wanted to let interested people know where we were coming from. Thx for the feedback.

  7. @Timour — Sorry — the 16c596 and the Allegro chip are pin-compatible, so I never changed my Eagle model’s name. We are using the Allegro A6276EA which is apparently going out of stock at Digikey, but is still available at Newark. Cheaper than the ST chips, seems to work just as well.

  8. my god. this is a fundraiser for a burning man camp. it’s a beautiful piece of art. WTF is wrong with you people, stomping down work like this? you will never really get people enthusiastic about hackery with that kind of hate. i am incredibly disappointed.

    i built the kit and it’s a beauty. so FUCK ALL Y’ALL.

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