LEDs and Pi Let You Virtually Decorate This Online Christmas Tree

Anyone who has decorated a Christmas tree knows that the lights are what really make the look. But no matter how many strings you wrap around it, there never seems to be enough. Plus the standard sets either sit there and do nothing, or just blink on and off at regular intervals. Yawn.

But hackers aim higher, and [leo.currie]’s interactive “paintable” Christmas tree takes the lighting game a step beyond. The standard light strings are replaced with strings of WS2811 RGB LEDs which are wired to an ESP8266. A camera connected to a Raspberry Pi is setup up to stream images of the tree to all and sundry on the Interwebz, but with a special twist: it also creates a map of every light on the tree. That allows the lights to be controlled individually in response to user inputs on a web page hosted on the Pi. The upshot is that you can paint the tree with any color you like in real time, or upload various animated GIFs to display on the tree. You can play with the tree directly, or watch a replay on the video below when that Pi inevitably gets hugged to death.

Imagine the possibilities with this. Why not hang a lot of LED strings vertically from the eaves of your house and make a huge, low-resolution display? We’ve featured plenty of large, interactive LED Christmas displays before, and we’d love to see what you come up with.

6 thoughts on “LEDs and Pi Let You Virtually Decorate This Online Christmas Tree

  1. “Why not hang a lot of LED strings vertically from the eaves of your house and make a huge, low-resolution display?”
    And give control to this to everyone out there? Well … Your house will be wrapped in porn. Explain that to your neighbourhood.

  2. Curses….beat the the punch. I’ve been trying to get a similar project done on my tree for years. Got as far as some RGB strips on each branch, controlled by a central Bluetooth (off the shelf as I was working on the new controller) for each branch section. Looks like a warp core, so I don’t mind that I haven’t gotten the time to do things.

    Think I’ll gander at his work and see how close I really got.

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