Illuminatrix is a one metre square LED matrix that has been shown at BurningMan festivals and events in 2010.
But... it's not just any old LED matrix... We've seen those before. This one has animations... And not just any old animations... Animations created by you!
We've also built an Android Live Wallpaper to showcase the animations, and intend to take this application further, perhaps with its own built in editor.
So if you've got an idea for animation, or not finished one yet, then please have a go with the editor and get your designs in as soon as possible!
This is a random selection of the animations people have already made. Move your mouse over each one to see it animate. Reload the page for more.
Illuminatrix was last shown at the London Decompression party in the Cable club in London. It was first shown outside the More Carrot Theme Camp at 5:30 and Baghdad during Burning Man 2010.
Its now being shown on peoples Android mobiles all around the world through the Live Wallpaper that was launched recently.
Need you ask? Because!
We like LEDs... You like LEDs... Everyone likes LEDs... Now you can play with an LED matrix without having to get involved in all that tedious electronics stuff... We've done the donkey work... Now let's see you show us the carrot!
The wallpaper was released recently, allowing users to browse the animations created for the project, and have them run in the backgrounds of their phones.
Above we've added a Flickr slideshow (using the fabulously simple Galleria) of the hardware build and a YouTube playlist of some test videos to show you the colours. We've also added videos and photos of the system working at Burning Man 2010.
There was a great deal of prototyping and breadboarding work that went on before we reached this stage as well. We'll add more photos and videos as we take them :-)
The system is contructed of 16 custom built PCBs, each containing a PIC16F1827 microcontroller which receives data via I2C from a master board and controls 3 MAX6964 LED Drivers via I2C - one each for red, green and blue components. Each board then runs two ribbon cables of 8 RGB LEDs.
The master board is running on a PIC18F26J50, a very powerful little PIC with an awful lot of I/O capability. Its reading the animations from an SD Card formatted with FAT32 using an SPI interface, it then chunks this data up, and sends it via the main I2C bus to the slave boards.
Finally, we have a PS/2 port connected to the master board which we'll use with a numeric keypad so users can dial-in their animation ids and show them to their friends.
On the software side of things we're using the SourceBoost BoostC compiler, and the incredibly useful PicPack Lib 3.01 from EmbeddedAdventures. FAT 32 filesystem reading has been accomplished using the Petite FatFS library with a few tweaks to support the BoostC compiler.