“Life” on a SmartMatrix Board

SmartMatrix Game of Life
Custom controller + SmartMatrix board + Teensy 3.1 with SmartMatrix shield = Conway’s Game of Life

The SmartMatrix board is a 32×32 RGB pixel RGB display (other sizes are available), and it makes an eye-catching display.  There is an existing code library to run it from a Teensy 3.1 with a SmartMatrix Shield. The hardware setup and code library are documented at the pixelmatrix website.  The library has all kinds of cool looking built-in effects, like text scrolling and geometric shapes.

The easiest way to program the Teensy is to add the TeensyDuino extension to the Arduino IDE.  Once the extension is setup, the code can be written in the IDE, and it is loaded onto the Teensy board just like an Arduino.  The only noticeable difference is that the code does not automatically load if the Teensy is running a program.  In that case, you have to press the Teensy’s “reset” button to complete the loading of new code.

Any project on the SmartMatrix board had to look good at a low pixel resolution.  Jason Coon’s implementation of Conway’s Game of Life seemed like an interesting application to run.  

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TinyScreen Case with Buttons

3D Printed necklace case with buttons for TinyScreen
3D Printed necklace case with buttons for TinyScreen

I just updated the TinyScreen case I’d 3D printed for my new TinyScreen and TinyDuino.  The new version of the case has protruding buttons to help access the two very small buttons built into each side of the TinyScreen.  I also wrote a new Arduino sketch to demonstrate the button functionality.  The sketch displays a 3d rotating wireframe shape, which changes when the buttons are pushed.

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New IMU Library for Arduino- RTIMULib

Obtaining orientation angles can be a challenge! RTIMULib may make things easier.
Obtaining orientation angles can be a challenge. RTIMULib may make things easier.

My blog traffic shows that a lot of the visitors are looking for information on IMUs (Inertial Measurement Units) like the MPU-6050.  Understanding how to use IMUs and access the data they provide can be daunting.  However, I just came across a new Arduino library for getting IMU data that looks like it will make things simpler.  Written by a company named Richards-Tech, the library is called RTIMULib, and can be found at https://github.com/richards-tech/RTIMULib-Arduino.

What’s incredibly awesome, and more or less unique about this library is that it comes with well-documented sample programs.

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