Home Forums Game Frame Hardware Modding How to externally control each pixel

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    I just got my maker kit going and it’s rad! I was wondering, does anyone know how I would go about controlling each pixel?

    My idea is that I’d like to have a button for each pixel (or make each pixel a button), and then cycle through a limited amount of colors by tapping each button. Can anyone suggest a way of going about this? Can I use the existing board with modified code to do this, or do I need something else with more inputs like an Arduino?

    I think I have enough working knowledge of Arduino and Processing to pick my way through this if someone can recommend an overall strategy. Any help is appreciated, thanks.

    Jeremy Williams

    Hi Andrew. The best place to start is going to be the NeoPixel library from Adafruit. It drives the LEDs in Game Frame, and the examples in the library will show you how to address individual lights. From there, the real fun will be figuring out the input engineering. 256 buttons is way beyond the limited Arduino pins, so you’re looking at additional hardware. I’m sure others can specific chip suggestions, but I know old school computer keyboards employ a switch matrix to solve the same problem.


    I’ll take a look at the NeoPixel library, thanks Jeremy!

    I could modify eight 4×4 keypads, but that would require 64 digital inputs I believe. Maybe I can find an 8×8 keypad and overall have less pins. Not sure how I would use a switch matrix.


    How about midi control? You could assign midi notes from a couple of channels to control the 256 pixels (extra credit: use midi control to actually set the color; maybe use velocity as a 6-bit rgb for coarse control). You’d need a midi processor of course, but people have already done that in arduino, and then you could hook up any kind of control matrix you want.

    I’d love to do this but have never done anything with arduino. I’ve made midi-controlled animations with a Novation Launchpad and would love to do it with GameFrame!


    I’m also planning on controlling each pixel. I thought of ways to do it as well. 256 buttons seems like too much. I decided on a controller where I have joystick and 2 buttons. One button will turn on a selector. This will blink a white light on the pixel that is selected. The other button will paint the color/cycle through colors. The joystick navigate over all the pixels. When I’m done painting, I click the select button again to stop it from flashing.

    Also, since I have a controller, I might try to program games like tetris and snake.

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