Brief: To develop a wireless lighting control system in less than 3 months for use in an interactive installation at EDIT (Expo for Design, Innovation & Technology) Toronto.
Approach: The brief required a control board which could be setup as a node in a larger system and was able to stream BMP images to LED strips whilst applying a height mask transmitted wirelessly to the main upright LED strip in each node. It was decided an approach using WiFi would be best with the host tablet sending UDP commands to control image playback. With this in mind we started prototyping a board with the following features: full WiFi integrated through an ESP-12 module, 5 JST connections for use with 4 individually controlled APA102 LED strips, SD card for BMP streaming, DIP switch for address setting and a 48MHz ARM® Cortex® M0 processor for control. With the board design finished and tested the files were sent for manufacture and work began on the communication side of things. Through every step of development features were added to aid troubleshooting during installation which proved invaluable when things didn't go entirely to plan during setup. But after a tough week of installation the display finally worked with over 14,000 LEDs being simultaneously individually controlled!
Outcome: A successful installation with 72 wirelessly controlled nodes displaying a simulation of the impact of government tax policy on wealth distribution in society.