The Dynamic Room Lighting Project, Part I

I'm a big fan of lighting projects. One of my most successful projects to date was a simple color organ that I hooked up to a string of christmas lights (which I'll post a writeup of at some point). I've had a new idea rolling around in my head for some time now though, and it's starting to take shape. So I bring you the Dynamic Room Lighting Project. (You'll have to forgive the title, I just made it up.)

The basic idea is to light a room with several hundred RGB LEDs (1) and to control it all with a computer. This project was inspired by several things I've seen, but in particular by the Disco Dance Floor (http://web.mit.edu/storborg/ddf/index.html) created by some MIT students. Instead of mounting the LEDs in a grid pattern though, I will be arranging them along the wall so they shine on it. I'm leaning towards mounting them at the base of the wall, though they could be put along the ceiling.

The MIT DDF solution provides a nice reference, but I've got several design requirements that it doesn't provide for. Primarily, since my project needs to lay around the room in plain sight, I would like to minimize the size of it and the amount of wiring required. I'd also like to make it more extensible without requiring a large network of USB hubs. Finally, I have no need for the sensors that the MIT design includes.

Next post, I'll begin talking about the solution I've been working on, and the design work that still needs to go into it.

1) RGB stands for Red Green Blue, and RGB LEDs are made by putting 3 LEDs in the same package. Most come in a 4 pin package with either a common anode or cathode.

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