It’s amazing to think that nearly 5 years ago, before Maniacal Labs even, I released RPi-LPD8806, which would eventually become BiblioPixel, our pure Python pixel animation framework. Back then it was only for the Raspberry Pi and only for LPD8806 LEDs… and I barely knew Python at the time!

Over the years, it has morphed and grown into a massively capable framework with support for so much more than that original library. But no year in BiblioPixel’s history has been more significant than this last year. I’d always had future plans for it but mainly updates happened as necessary to support other projects I was working on. The most significant, of course, being the AllPixel. But for more than a year now, Tom Ritchford (who actually first contacted me because of RPi-LPD8806 way back in 2013) has taken the vision of BiblioPixel to a whole new level. And if you’ll believe it, this is just the start.

So, who’s Tom? In his own words:

Tom Ritchford has been writing computer programs for a living since 1979. His alter ego Tom Swirly does music, lights and sound with computers for fun. He currently lives in Amsterdam where he is writing a book.

After thousands of emails and hundreds of commits, BiblioPixel 3.0 is faster, cleaner, stronger, happier and in every conceivable way better than it’s predecessor. You will go from zero to blinking lights in under a minute!

What’s new? Just to name a few highlights…

  • Full Python 3.4+ support! (In fact we dropped Python 2 support)
  • Near complete core rewrite that’s faster than ever!
  • Run BiblioPixel with nothing more than a config file, zero code!
  • SimPixel, our all-new WebGL based visualizer. Get started with no hardware at all!
  • Tight integration with BiblioPixelAnimations, our repository of pre-made animations.

Even with all this, it’s still about 90% compatible with all your old code and only requires minimal modifications.

Get started and install now!

Footnotes

  • Talk about blast from the past, here’s a demo video I posted of RPi-LPD8806 from October, 2012:
  • Original post (on a defunct website) I made about the RPi-LPD8806 library which is how Tom got involved.
  • So, what does nearly 5 years of work on BiblioPixel look like? Thanks to gource we get this pretty video:

The recent questioning of if Arduino was fully complying with open source standards reminded us of something… in all the excitement of releasing the new and improved AllPixelMini we forgot to release the new designs! Oops.

Well, fear not as the KiCAD design files for the AllPixelMini are available for your viewing pleasure over on GitHub. And don’t worry, the original AllPixel designs are still available too 🙂

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a strong fascination with renewable energy sources. Not just out of a sense of eco-responsibility (though I did watch a ton of Captain Planet as a child) but also because of the dichotomy between the advanced technology involved and simple elegance of wind, hydro, and solar power. So, my plan has always been to gain grid independence and carbon neutrality and, on March 29th of this year, I’ve finally taken the first step by having solar panels installed on my house.

The above was shot throughout the single day required for NC Solar Now, a local Raleigh company, to install my new 7.15kW solar system. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ve had so many questions about the system, finances, hurdles, etc. that I really should back up a little…

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We are proud to announce the crowd funding campaign for our joint project with our friends at WyoLum, the ULTiM8x8!

ULTIM8x8 is an LED panel that does it all. From small wearable projects to huge displays, ULTiM8x8 has you covered. We’ve designed a super-bright, extendable LED panel system that you can assemble without soldering or special skills. ULTiM8x8 is a flexible, reconfigurable display that perfectly suits your changing needs.

The ULTiM8x8 is designed for people who need an easily controlled LED display in a solid and very flexible system that puts out lots of color. Whether you need a small, powerful LED matrix or you’re putting together a monster display, you will love the mounting and connection options the ULTiM8x8 provides. Because it’s compatible with existing software libraries and hardware controllers, you avoid the extra headache commonly found with obscure control components and protocols. Art installations, ad spots, cosplay, info displays, and any IoT widget needing a few more status lights will welcome the addition of the ULTiM8x8.

For all the juicy details, checkout the CrowdSupply campaign page.