Must-Have Overkill Christmas Tree Lights

The yuletide fire is out, so we’re starting to receive this year’s Christmas hacks. [Chris] sent us his awesome video-mapped tree lighting hack. His project made clever use of a bunch of cool tools, so even if you’re not thinking forward to next December, it’s worth a look. Still images don’t do it justice; check out the video below the break.

The end result is an addressable string of WS2812B LEDs connected up to a Raspberry Pi Zero that can display a video image even though it’s wrapped around a roughly cone-shaped (pine) object. But this is actually more impressive than you’d think at first; how would you map a flat image to a string of LEDs wrapped around a tree?

[Chris]’s solution was to write a routine that lit up the LEDs in a unique pattern and then detected them using OpenCV and a webcam, making the mapping directly. He then samples images from a video at exactly the points where the pixels are located on the tree, and sends this data out to the LEDs.

The basic framework here should transform fairly easily into a generic image-mapping procedure with randomly located LEDs, so we think it’s a hack that’ll outlast the season. And because it runs on the Pi Zero, everything is in Python so it’d be a good project for beginners to replicate. However, the code section on the project page still lists it as coming soon. We hope so!


9 thoughts on “Must-Have Overkill Christmas Tree Lights

  1. Don’t get me wrong… Its cool and all but it doesn’t look like it’s video mapped anything. Maybe he could have done a VU meter or something first cuz that may have been more discernible. Its cool but simply looks like red to blue lighting in the video. Perhaps it’s the video losing something.

  2. Someday would like to create a spinning LED array to create a nice suspended in air effect messages. Basically the same as a spinning programmable one, that you could purchase for a low cost. My plan would be to spin a foot tall one, using a 12 inch ruler painted black with an LED pixel strip and a motor and optical sync switch. I am not sure how to design the controller to create the images and or graphics.

    1. Look at the xlights-nutcracker program where you can define your own shapes and programm all effects on this layout. It is used by Chirtsmaslight enthousiast a lot, but not restricted to Christmas ofcourse.

    1. I’ll be damned. Nice detective work. This is an almost identical project. I mean, they do differ slightly such that each is technically it’s own achievement by merit, but it’s fascinating to see history repeat itself.

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