liightbrush – 0% photoshop

Painting with LEDs and a wiimote

How it’s done v2

with one comment

The liightbrush v2 is an interactive light painting tool. Made of a 1 meter long LED strip, it changes color based on where it is positioned in space according to a user selected picture. You can move the brush along, in whatever orientation/direction, and it will “paint” the global appearance of the target image.

Here is an example of a light painting session, and its result:

There are three main parts to the project:

  • The camera: used to take the pictures, in “bulb” mode in order to have an exposure time as long as necessary, with a remote to make operations simpler. I am currently using a Canon 550D.
  • The wiimote: the most basic part of it all, as it is a standard Nintendo wiimote
  • The computer: bluetooth enabled computer, that receives  from the Wiimote the current position of the liightbrush. A bit of C# code then computes what are the adequate colors to be displayed, and sends them over serial port to the liightbrush
  • The liightbrush itself is a combination of:
    • a LED strip (with by the LPD8806 chip instead of the HL1606 of the first version), allowing control of individual LEDs with a wide spectrum of colors
    • an Arduino Mega, receiving data from the Serial link to the PC and sending it properly to the LED strip. I use the great SPI libraries to pilot the LEDs (
    • a bluetooth module connected to the Arduino in order to make the Serial link wireless
    • Infrared emitters, extracted from a wireless Wii sensor bar, placed at each extremity of the liightbrush in order to allow the wiimote to “see” it
    • An aluminum rod, a plastic box, a battery pack, duct tape, bolts and wire

    Written by liightbrush

    16/12/2011 at 23:25

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