PIXEL is an open-source, interactive framed LED wall display that allows you to send animations and images from an Android device or Windows PC.
Kickstarted in March 2013, PIXEL consists of a framed two-way acrylic mirror that houses a programmable, 32-by-32 LED matrix array (quick math: that’s 1,024 RGB LED lights), providing ample room to serve as your digital canvas for creating pixel art. Think of pixel art as Pointillism painting (using painted dots of individual colors to create an image) with tons of LEDs. Pixel art was an interesting phase for games and other mediums because it’s ‘8-bit’ style required a bit of imagination on the part of the user to “fill in the blanks”. Until the 90s, this was par for the course for computer and video games alike, but as graphics improved, pixel art was pushed out of the mainstream. The 8-bit pixel artform is experiencing an exciting resurgence, PIXEL brings this art form to the LED medium.
At PIXEL’s core is the open-source microcontroller board called the IOIO (pronounced “yo-yo”). This programmable board was designed specifically to work with Android devices via USB or Bluetooth and can be controlled by Android applications that use its API. PIXEL pairs with your Android phone, tablet, or PC and, with any of the ten compatible Android apps in the Google Play Store (or PIXEL’s PC Windows software), you can produce any still, animated, or interactive image you dream up. Since PIXEL relies on your phone, tablet or computer to be in bluetooth range, animated images will pause if the device running the app is disconnected. Once you send over a still image, it will stay on screen until you restart the PIXEL. To get you started, the available apps provide over 150 still images and a score of animated and interactive images.
A proximity sensor built into the PIXEL frame allows you to make images change or ‘interact’ with people as they enter the frame’s range. PIXEL also has three additional ports accessible via the back of the frame, allowing you to connect and program up to three additional sensors for added functionality and interactivity.
PIXEL is powered by a 4 amp 5V power adapter that plugs in on the back of the frame, where you’ll also find two hangers on either side for easy attachment to your wall. You can also replace the standard frame with your own custom modification. When PIXEL isn’t displaying an image, the one-way glass pane can function as a mirror.
Featured Pixel Artists Commissioned for PIXEL
Are you a talented pixel artist? Take the PIXEL Challenge to win a PIXEL and have your name featured on this page.
|Carl Douglas (Argyle) is a freelance digital art-slinger based out of Ohio, USA. Carl loves his job more than any artistic crustacean that the world has ever known.|
|Kirk Barnett (Pixel PileDriver) is a programmer and artist based out of Seattle, USA. Attending the Digipen Institute of technology he studied Art Production, Real-time Simulation Programming, and lots of math. Currently he is an indie game developer and co-founder of BlockLight.|
|Fernando Cristi (Kyu) is a graphic designer & game artist. He enjoys video game development and
works as a freelance artist living in Santiago, Chile.
|Clement Swennes (Atnas) is a freelance artist and animator living in Philadelphia, USA. He’s a hobbyist programmer and designer.|
|Bertrand Dupuy (DaLK) is a pixel artist and video game designer from France. He has developed games for the Gameboy consoles and most recently Nintendo DS and mobile devices..|
|Francisco Cifuentes (Metaru) is based out of Chile and has been involved in the pixel art medium for a decade, working on a diversity of media ranging from video games to music videos, as well as taking on community roles such as deviantART’s Gallery Director.|
In the Box
- 32×32 LED panel (1,024 RGB LEDs) with black frame & two-way acrylic mirror
- IOIOMint board + LED Matrix shield
- 2 Bluetooth dongles (to be used if your computer does not have Bluetooth)
- IR proximity sensor
- Power Supply (110V – 240V) with US plug
- Free Android and PC Windows apps with PIXEL content
We’d like to thank all of our KickStarter backers, you made PIXEL happen. And a special thank you to our platinum sponsor, i-Cynap.