Arts Maker/Development

SmartMatrix LED display trips the lights fantastic

Once, thethe pixel a common companion in the lives of many, but the race for higher density displays across the devices in our lives has squarely relegated the pixel to an afterthought. Still, many still have soft spots in their hearts for the blocky phones screens, Pac-Mans, and Marios of yesteryear.

That nostalgia still lives on today through a plethora of retro-styled games and art, and the SmartMatrix LED board is positioning itself as the best way to display it all in the home. The SmartMatrix’s 9″ by 9″ frame contains a compact 32 RGB LEDs working in tandem as everything from a music visualizer to a video game art display to a GIF display, making for some seriously throwback light shows.

Its one real downside is its inability to interface through a smartphone. The SmartMatrix instead relies on a remote control to do things like show time over displayed content or scroll through messages. Luckily, its open source nature will allow intrepid programmers new opportunities. A non-assembled kit costs $179, while a fully assembled kit is $199, both of which are slated to ship in September 2015. The SmartMatrix campaign is looking to raise $30,000 before June 15, 2015.

Pixel gaming, pixel art, and pixel typography have all seen a strong resurgence in recent years, especially in products like the CHEMION and SCROL, so the SmartMatrix is in good company. Still, it’s a bit chunky and not that appealing when compared to the Cuberox, a much sleeker implementation of a similar idea.

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