The AutumnHippo colourBoard Is a Simple, Autonomous, Color-Shifting LED Matrix for Your Desk

Designed without a microcontroller, using LEDs with the blinking or color-shifting logic already in place, this simple kit is mesmerizing.

Gareth Halfacree
a month ago β€’ Lights / Art

Maker Thomas Pryds has released a pair of LED matrix kits designed to bring autonomous color-shifting art to your desk: the colourBoard family.

"Decorate your desk or shelf with the colourBoard," Pryds writes of his latest design, "and lose yourself into its one hundred hypnotising LEDs. [It is] available as a kit with two different options for LEDs: One has LEDs that slowly fade between colors, and one has LEDs that simply blink. The slight timing inaccuracy of the fading/blinking makes the LEDs slowly drift away from each other, which gives an illusion of randomness that is hard to move your eyes away from."

Available in two variants, the colourBoard is a simple microcontroller-free LED matrix art kit. (πŸ“Ή: Thomas Pryds)

The eye-catching yet relatively simple board arrives as a pair of PCBs, one to house the electronics and the second acting as a cover, with 105 color-fading RGB LEDs β€” five provided as spares, Pryds explains, "for accidents during soldering" β€” 100 resistors, a slide switch, and a mini-USB connector for power - a relatively unusual sight in a world that has largely moved to micro-USB or USB Type-C.

There's no microcontroller in the kit: Instead, the colourBoard relies on two-leg LEDs which have fading or blinking capabilities already built in. As a result, assembly is relatively straightforward β€” if not a little time-consuming, given that there are 100 LEDs and 100 resistors to solder.

The kit is now available on the AutumnHippo Tindie store at $37, or $9 for just the bare PCBs; the design files and Gerbers have been published to GitLab under an unspecified open source license.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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