[WATCH] Painting with a wall of light

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A single RGB LED is nothing special, but what if you could hook up 2 800 and give people special paintbrushes that let them change their colours? Well then, you have yourself a maker art project.

The project was shown off  at Maker Faire in New York by co-creator Jared Ficklin. He explained he his brother Joey began the project by creating a wall of battery operated tea-lights, converted to use an exterior power supply rather than their battery packs.

With the wall done, it needed a way to be painted, and Ficklin asked the question:

“If a wall is made of light, do you need a brush? How are you going to change the colour? Are you going to change it algorithmically? Are you going to use an app? Or maybe you just need a smarter brush.”

And that smarter brush uses a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) with an AT Tiny PC that transmits code for a colour that matches the handle of the brush. Passing over the addressable LED with the brush will give it the instruction to change colour.

People can then pick up a brush with a colour of their choosing and “paint” the LEDs.

Ficklin said that he had never worked with surface-mounted components before and had to learn to program the the chipset but, as you’ll see, it works perfectly. Just another example of learning skills as you need them and being able to produce results.

We don’t see this project having any use outside of interactive art and a few hours of fun, but Ficklin insists that it has another use:

People approach it digitally, but the experience is actually  very analogue, and it’s very fun to watch that interaction. It starts playing with their mind[s] a little bit, it makes them think: what’s the future going to be like when all this technology is coming into my house?”

[Source – Maker Faire on Youtube]

Clinton Matos

Clinton Matos

Clinton has been a programmer, engineering student, project manager, asset controller and even a farrier. Now he handles the maker side of htxt.africa.