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8Square

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We made the 8Square as a followup to the 4Cube, since we could use the same circuit design and we thought it might look cool. Somewhat unexpectedly, a fair number of people seem to like the 8Square even more than the 4Cube.

Hardware Features:

  • Multiple buttons for user selectable control.
  • USB port to connect to your computer for user drawing and option selection.
  • 64 three-color RGB LEDs (for a total of 192 individually addressable LEDs), with 16 levels per color channel. Thus the 8Square can display 4096 colors!
  • Runs on PIC18F4620, which has 64K ROM, 3.8K RAM, and runs at 32MHZ (8 MIPS). We’ve packed it to the gills and running it fully maxed.
  • Simple usage – turn it on and it goes!
  • Hackable – program your 8Square to do what you want (difficult though!)
  • Controller board is general purpose – could be useful for driving all sorts of LED projects.

Software Features:

  • 51 distinct visualizations.
  • 10+ transition effects.
  • Variable speed randomly smoothed along random paths.
  • Dynamic palette morphing for smooth color effects.
  • Arbitrary symmetry and affine transform mappings performed dynamically.
  • Color, timing, symmetry, and transition randomization for creating unique visualizations on the fly.
  • 512-bit random cycle seed saved between power-ups almost guarantees never repeating visualization cycle.
  • Created with 20,000 lines of C code, and several hundred of assembler.
  • Code is fourth complete rewrite, so is very polished.
  • Three 8-bit channels of color computed internally, then dithered down to 4096 colors.
  • Displays over 6500 frames per second to modulate the colors.
  • Uses a custom fixed-point 3D engine for image generation, along with numerous hand crafted sprites and animations.
  • User settable visualization speed, frequency, and presence (via connection to computer.)
  • API and sample code to fully control the LEDs from your own program over USB.
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