Smart LED Curtain Brings Sprites To Your Windows

Illuminated smart curtain in front of a window, beside a Christmas tree
Mobile interface for LED smart curtain display
A mobile interface is a nice touch

Anybody who has ever seen a video wall (and who hasn’t?) will be familiar with the idea of making large-scale illuminated images from individual coloured lights. But how many of us have gone the extra mile and fitted such a display in our own homes? [vcch] has done just that with his Deluxe Smart Curtain that can be controlled with a phone or laptop.

The display itself is made up of a series of Neopixel strips, hung in vertical lines in front of the window.  There is a wide gap between each strip, lending a ghostly translucent look to the images and allowing the primary purpose of the window to remain intact.

The brains of the system are hosted on a low-cost M5stack atom ESP32 device. The data lines for the LEDs are wired in a zig-zag up and down pattern from left to right, which the driver software maps to the rectangular images. However, the 5V power is applied to the strips in parallel to avoid voltage drops along the chain.

If you’d like to build your own smart curtain, Arduino sketch files and PHP for the mobile interface are included on the project page. Be sure to check out the brief video of what the neighbors will enjoy at night after the break.

If video walls are your kind of thing, then how about this one that uses Ping Pong Balls as diffusers?


13 thoughts on “Smart LED Curtain Brings Sprites To Your Windows

    1. Only if you are insane enough to run all the LEDs at 100% white! That will leave an after image!

      You can get perfectly acceptable patterns from 1200 LEDs without drawing more than a few amps – decent control software (e.g. WLED) will let you set power limits.

    1. I just looked. They look nice but are more adapted to larger places (typically sold by 5 meters, ten leds per meters – that is 3 times less than the ugly PCBs). A better option seem to be 3mm wide PCBs…

  1. I have pulled RGB leds on fine copper wire strings through silicone tubing then draped vertically those across a window for Xmas/New Year/Other Celebrations.

    Trickier to get even spacing but you can safely grab the tubes and stuff them in storage (or just be clumsy hanging them) and the tubing protects the LEDs and wiring. You can also choose the translucency of the tubing (even transparent, but that won’t be as flexible – not silicone) and hence the amount of diffusion. You don’t get any shadows due to the PCB (looks as good from front and back).

  2. Look like a miniature version of the LED wall installation at the Armani store on Fifth Ave in New York from ~12 years ago (see YT for “Project: Armani 5th Avenue, New York media facade”). RGB LEDs spaced 100mm apart on aluminum PCBs mounted into aluminum extrusions. My employer at the time was subbed to do the actual PCBA and cable builds, PCBA install into the beams, and burn-in testing. The LEDs were OSRAM Ceramos RGB LEDs (still show up at Digikey, but as obsolete, 475-2898-1-ND).

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