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There have been several projects around the world that have turned a building into a matrix display. Theses include:

  1. Blinkenlights Haus des Lehrers, Berlin (2001)
  2. Blinkenlights Arcade Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, France ( 2002)
  3. Blinkenlights Stereoscope City Hall, Toronto, Canada (2008)
  4. PlayHouse Liberty Hall, Dublin (2009)
  5. AllColoursAreBeautiful Puerto Giesing, Munich (2010)

Lets try to do something similar, but unique in Edinburgh!


Former home of Veterinary School of the University of Edinburgh. Potential new home of Hacklab, fingers crossed!

Status: The window of opportunity in Jan-Feb 2012 didn't come to anything. No longer and option as it's now.

6 story tower block. Excluding the ground floor that has a porchway etc, there are 5 floors each with 10 equal sized windows.


Don't know the exact window measurements.

Tracing Paper to put in inside of windows. Will need lots, ~75m something like 4 rolls of this 90gsm stuff, exact width and quantity to be determined by window measurements. Could we use whitewash instead? Messy/time-consuming to apply and remove? Prototyping required I imagine.

2 windows have fans/extractor arrangements, how would these be dealt with? Probably leave them as they are?

Internet Connection: Probably need some form of Internet connection to building for submission of animations, doesn't need to be high bandwidth. Something like a 3G dongle in a laptop?


1) On/Off White lights behind each window.

  • Could maybe reuse florescent lights from building, Might be hard to co-ordinate stripping from building. Would be running at 230V (Health & Safety?), can't be rapidly switched on & off. Mains switching relays required.
  • 120W halogen security lights, not hugely expensive £4.69 with bulb inc VAT @ Screwfix. Again lots of 230V about the place. Potentially dim-able with a bit of pulsing?. Mains switching relays required.

2) High Power RGB LEDs behind each window.

  • Setup used by ACAB, they have published their hardware board and schematics and software. Have a contact that we would hopefully get some help from. Each pixel controlled by a control board with a ATmega644P and RS485 interface chip (MAX487CSA) was comms
  • ACAB used 3x1W LEDs from Deal Extreme, probably these 3W LED Emitter on Star (Multicolored RGB) about £1.90 each when buying more than 10.
  • Pretty modular design than can be used elsewhere for example a light cube wall in the hacklab.
  • Electronics & PCB for each “pixel” are likely to be around £25. Excluding power supplies, CAT5 between lamps etc.
  • Each of the 5 rows powered by one chunky 24V DC Power supply, something like this.


blinkenlights.txt · Last modified: 2015-10-05 15:55 by

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