The Nyancat Stroboscope

Last week I built a simple atmega-based driver circuit that allows controlling WS2812 LEDs from a linux box. Since then I realized that the driver can run a small LED array at very high framerates — so we can do much more interesting things than just boring colorfades!

In the video below I installed 28 daisy-chained LEDs in a flower pot. According to the vendors specs, the array should have a power consumption of up to 10W, but the largest draw I was able to measure with all lights and colours turned to full brightness was just shy of 5W. Still, it's pretty bright, especially in a dark room (see the second video).

The LEDs data signal is driven from the aforementioned atmega circuit connected to a Raspberry PI. The PI isn't really required but I thought being able to ssh into the flower pot was a nice touch. I also connected a pair of loudspeakers to the PI, so make sure to turn on your sound when watching the video.

WARNING: Videos contain flashing images

The WS2812 driver in action.

The "Nyancat Stroboscope" is probably the most interesting face-paced animation I came up with during the evening I worked on this. Sadly video capture doesnt do it justice. I guess the stroboscope also doubles as an instant test for photosensitive epilepsy, so this is certainly not something you want to turn on without warning everybody in the room first. Note the frame tearing in the video below (the video was shot at 30fps).

The Nyancat Stroboscope in a dark room.

All the code for these and more animations is available on GitHub