Active or responsive LED panels can add a new aesthetic level to floors, desks, walls, or any flat surface, but they can be costly — Nanoleaf, Sensacell, and BrightLogic are prime examples. Sometimes it’s best to go the DIY route, which is what electronic enthusiast Rodney Trusty did with his responsive LED panel, which can be programmed to light up when an object gets near its sensors.
Trusty used a series of panels to create an interactive table, which he states, “The table works on infrared light, so no touch or pressure is required. I’ve also made custom PCBs to drastically reduce build time. My first build took 40+ hours. With the custom PCB it can be done in 1 hour give or take.” He designed his responsive LED panel using 16 WS2812 (5050) addressable LEDs, 16 IR LEDs, 16 IR photoresistors, a custom PCB, and an Arduino Uno to control the show.
Trusty developed his custom PCB with component placement diagrams stenciled on the board, making it simple to locate and solder the electronics in their correct areas. There’s also an area where you can solder a pinout for connecting the Arduino. He also made it easy to install the necessary code to get the responsive panel up and running by adding comments that are easy to understand, although you can upload and go if needed.
You can find a great walkthrough of Trusty’s responsive LED panel on his project page if you would like to recreate his build. He’s even offering his panel on Tindie for $15 in kit form, $30 with the SMD components pre-soldered, and $45 with all the parts pre-soldered.
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Author: Cabe Atwell