Hackerspace Light Wall Plays Video At 30 Fps


The folks at The Quad Cities Collaboration and Hackerspace (QC Co-Lab) were trying to find something to build for their first big project, and had to look no further than the wall for inspiration. The north end of their facility is home to a huge 15×17 glass block wall that happens to face a well-traveled roadway.

They decided that turning the wall into a huge LED display would be a great way to attract attention from passers-by, so they picked up some GE Color Effects lights and got down to business. Once they found out that the technical college next door was putting on an open house, the race was on to get the light display assembled as quickly as possible to maximize their exposure.

The team mounted the 255 LEDs in vacuum-formed reflective cones, which were attached to wooden frames before being installed behind the glass wall. An Arduino drives the entire display at a smooth 30 frames per second, a task they say tests the very limits of the board’s capabilities.

They finished the job in time for the open house, and as you can see in the video below, the display looks great.

Nice job QC-Co-Lab!


24 thoughts on “Hackerspace Light Wall Plays Video At 30 Fps

      1. We’ve been too lazy to cut-solder-seal the last string of lights. And the vacuum-sealer has been kinda burny. All in all though, it’s laziness. I’ve been (not) working on connecting zigbees to the thing so I can play tetris on it.

      2. The wall is physically 15×17. Due to pin and programming limits, the display will run at 15×16 max. At the time of filming, the bottom two rows were pulled out to fix some wiring and a small structural issue.

        In its complete form, the display is shifted up two rows, with the bottom most row black.

  1. The guys over at my local space Hive13 did this with an arduino on a much smaller scale. This light wall is epic! Sure they could fiddle with the contrast to make the videos clearer but honestly if I had just built a huge epic lightwall that remotely worked I’d be plopping it on youtube as fast as I could. I’m sure they will tweak it guys!

  2. @ Phil: Did you consider upgrading to an arduino mega? It’ll give you some additional serial buses you can use with the zigbee. I’m debating doing the very same thing for my set-up.

    The code you guys provided is going to be very helpful. Hats off to you guys!

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