Back in 2012, I had the idea to create an LED display for art purposes that could be updated from a mobile app. With the help of my good friend, Ytai Ben-Tsvi, we developed the hardware and software for PIXEL. Ytai is also the creator of the open source IOIO board that PIXEL is built on.
The next step was to create the content for PIXEL. I was inspired by the minimalist, low res nature of pixel art which turned out to be the perfect fit for this project.
“Pixel art is set apart from other digital art forms by its focus on control and precision. The artist has to be in control of the image at the level of the single pixel, and every pixel should be purposefully placed. When pixel art is done purposefully, offsetting just a few pixels can have a dramatic effect on the image.” —Source: pixeljoint.com
I reached out to the pixel art community and found artists to collaborate with. They seemed to like the idea of having this new medium composed solely of LEDs to show off their work. I ended up collaborating with 12 pixel artists from all over the world who created over 180 works of pixel art.
As an individual with a full time day job, it is fascinating in this day and age how an individual with a full time job can create an end consumer product like PIXEL by leveraging open source technologies and small run manufacturing. I am a big believer in sharing, here is how I did it and my lessons learned. Hopefully that is helpful and you can turn your idea into the next big thing!
al [at] ledpixelart [dot] com