Owen Trueblood

looking smug

Driving an LED Array from Shaders Running on a Raspberry Pi

The Very Large LED Array, or VLLA for short, is a bunch of LEDs mounted on a 4x8' sheet of plywood driven by two Teensy microcontrollers and a Raspberry Pi. The hardware was designed and constructed by friends of mine for our hall in our dorm at MIT with funding from Texas Instruments. The goal was to create an impressive light show for parties.

I was interested in the software driving the display and had a desperate need to obsess over something not school related at the end of my 2nd semester in my junior year, so I developed a series of tools for creating effects for the display. In its final form the system could run effects written in JavaScript or Lua, piped frame-by-frame over UDP, read from GIFs, or streamed from pixels on a Linux desktop.

Rotating a Panda

One of the first effects I developed for the VLLA was directly inspired by a loading screen in a demo by Fairlight called We Are New. In the demo a pistol-wielding panda rendered in chunky volumetric form rotated in 3D space.

You can find my code to recreate the effect below: