Jurek and the Amazing Techno, Colored DreamWall

Jurek and the Amazing Techno, Colored DreamWall

The title is mostly a placeholder, as I haven't really figured out a name for it yet. This project is a wall hanging that consists of semi-large triangular pixels using discrete RGB LED's and PWM to control intensity levels of each LED, resulting in a 4096-color display.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Miscellaneous Progress

Test Module
Progress continues on the smaller test module that I mentioned in my previous post.
I've got the pixel divider walls and the backing glued together, and I tested using aluminum tape on the floor of the pixels. As it turns out, Home Depot stopped carrying the 2'x4' 1/8" white marker board, and now only carry a brown version of it. It's not nearly as glossy (plus, it's brown), so I'm attempting to use the aluminum tape as a reflective agent on the floor as well.

The small number of pixels, combined with the assembly method I have, actually makes this small one not very easy to keep "true", as far as the pixel shapes are concerned. There are only 2 triangles that end up being "perfect", and they're not adjacent to each other (only kissing), so everything kinda wobbled around a little, until I got the floor glued to it.

I started into soldering up another driver board, mainly to get myself back into things. The only components I got soldered onto the board were 2 resistors and 2 capacitors. The tip I had used for the first time around is basically useless for the very small-pitch components. It's gotten so built up with debris, and has probably had the tip melted or broken off, so it's not nearly as fine as I need it to be. I'll need to order about 5 of those bad-boys to keep me in stock.

I just got a new tablet PC on Thursday and finally got that up and running. I got all of my development tools installed, brought the tablet over to the work space, and hooked it up to the processor to make sure everything works. It still does, thankfully, and having a small portable communication medium for programming it will be a great help. I also put the visualization Python code on it and tested it out for performance. It runs at about 1/2-1/3 the speed as my desktop, peaking at about 25ms per frame at the highest resolution, so I think it should be fine for "production" use.

I need to start writing more with that code, so other people can start playing around with it. It's pretty rudimentary right now, but I hope to get it to the point where patterns, shapes, text, etc. can be made as individual files and then loaded on the fly.

OK, so you gotta start out small, I guess. I was contacted by one of the writer/director/producers of an up-coming short show called Center Earth about using the technowall as part of background for various scenes. Shooting is slated to start in mid April, and the wall will probably be needed some time in May-ish. There's not much more to say about it yet, but I'll keep everyone posted about progress with it.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

New Space pictures

Work Space
I finally got some pictures taken of the new space. I haven't been working on the wall, really, although tonight, I layed it on the saw horses and opened it up to double-check things.

I got a dividing/pegboard storage wall built last Monday, so I finally have someplace other than the floor to store my tools.
Tonight, I also cobbled together some overhead storage for wood, so I can keep stuff out of the way a little bit better. I don't have any pictures of that, but it's pretty basic. I made it out of a single 8' 2x4, so it's obviously not too complicated.

Anywho... here're the pictures. I didn't get a shot of the table saw, for some reason, but you probably get the idea. It's basically just to the left of the 4th picture, straight back from the white bucket in the corner.

Design & Planning
I started thinking about different ways to make smaller versions of the wall for cheap. I can use just a single driver board to make a smaller 20-pixel or even 15- or 10-pixel piece (or anything under 20, I guess, really).
I can make a nice O shape with 18 pixels (the center 6 forming a hexagon, missing), but construction might be an issue. T'wood certainly be something to have fabricated for me.

The other issue would be the processor. I've briefly started looking at other Atmel processors that are in a DIP package, and there are several (too many, it seems) available. If I would make something cheaper, the goal would be to make it as simple as possible, and computer interface (real-time, anyway) would not be a feature of it. Also, I would have to make it power-friendly enough so that a wall wart adapter could work.

Even if I use the same processor I did for the big wall (which probably costs ~$50-75 in parts, currently), I could probably get the cost down to maybe $1000 for the small 18-pixel O shape.

Anyone have any comments or ideas? I'd be glad to hear them.

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