Shiftbrite Coffee Table

Here’s a project we’ve been wanting to do for a while. Over at they’ve posted an LED coffee table that uses a 9×9 RGB LED grid. For the LEDs, they used the shiftbrite modules we’ve seen before. The table is capable of displaying pre written patterns as well as accepting patterns from a computer via bluetooth. They’ve set it up to connect to a twitter feed and display to a live cam on their site. Though we would love to reproduce this, we need a little more justification than “ooooh, shiny”  for the funds involved. Anyone want to donate 100 shiftbrights?

22 thoughts on “Shiftbrite Coffee Table

  1. The table’s been around for a while, but what we did yesterday was add Bluetooth so it can actually sit in the living room and show data without a computer hanging off it. Right now it’s kind of a community artpiece or pixel graffiti but it could be a way to keep an eye on server status, email, weather forecast, etc.

  2. If you need more incentive then think about making it big enough to hook up to the LED Mario game that you recently featured. What better way to entertain your guest than playing some Mario on the coffee table?

  3. @arxix Going out and buying those things would be easier, yes, but that defeats the whole purpose of learning new things and seeing what we can do. Imagine how boring this world would be if we didn’t have people like those at pushing the limits of what we have done and creating new things. We’d pretty much still be cavemen. And personally, I don’t feel like I belong on a Geico commercial. Do you?

  4. Yes, of course 9×9=81.

    but the REAL formula is (9^2)+n,

    where n = the number of modules you fry from accidental overvoltage.

    I almost did that to my shiftbrite set by plugging the arduino into the USB bus and the power supply at the same time.

  5. shiftbrights are cool, but too expensive, as you’ve noted.

    There are cheaper ways to do it. I’m working on one, but it may be a while before I have it done since I have limited time these days…

  6. If you want to hunch over a soldering iron for weeks and only end up with on/off control with shift registers or a low-brightness flickering matrix, then you might figure out a cheaper solution. Try to actually design a system with 81 RGB LEDs running 10-bit PWM at full brightness (no matrix duty cycle) and then estimate how much time and cost it will take to build. I think our price is at least fair, especially at some of the first price breaks.

  7. I agree that a coffee table with an embedded LCD display and a computer driving it would be awesome.

    However, this setup doesn’t need a dedicated computer to run it.

    Also, it may be bad publicity for the makers of the ShiftBrites to say “Well, we were going to make an LED coffee table, but our LED modules were just TOO expensive, so here’s this table made from a flat screen and a computer instead.”

  8. hey guys , i am working on a similar project with 49 shiftbrites , ive roughly worked out that i need a 15v power supply to run them, is that correct? , but dont the shiftbrites only support up to a 9v power supply? im so confused

  9. You need to think about amps, not volts. Try to keep the voltage above 5.5V and add up the amps per ShiftBrite (about 0.06). So you need at least 3 amps and a little extra never hurt. This supply would work OK, it’s open frame so I’m afraid you’ll electrocute yourself but Jameco has closed frame and desktop versions too:

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