Pixeltable Reloaded

You might already know my Pixel-Table from a previous blog post (link). Back then it was powered by a Raspberry PI which had the hazards of managing a full OS and struggling with always-corrupted filesystems after power outages or just after some time when the SD card memory gets broken as of too many write-cycles.

So I started to move the hardware towards Arduino (to control the LED Stripe) and an ESP8266 to offer wifi communication. The two microcontrollers communicate via the serial interface.

Basic outline:
Webapp -> ((Wifi)) -> ESP8266 -> (Serial Interface) -> Arduino -> LED Stripe

Finally I also managed to build a grid for the LEDs so they appear far more pixel-shaped.


  • Pixeltable Hardware as of previous post
  • Arduino Nano
  • ESP8266
  • DIY Webapp to send commands to ESP8266
  • Fun!

My Pixel-Coffee-Table

I was inspired for this project by the following post I saw on the web: How To Control Adafruit LED Pixels with Raspberry Pi

It explains how you can connect a bunch of WS2801 LEDs to a Raspberry Pi and control it via a web page running on the same small computer. I changed the form factor from pixelstrip-only to a 10×10 matrix of LEDs and added a wooden coffee table and a depolished glass plate around.

It has the same software as in the project mentioned above: Some node.js magic running the web interface and controlling the pixel strip. Big thumbs up tho Andrew Munsell for publishing his sources on Github!

I have a lot of other ideas concerning how to develop the table further:

  • responsive web interface so that it is also nicely usable on mobile devices
  • adding games like Connect 4 or Ludo
  • visualize audio that is heard around
  • visualize data coming from Twitter
  • visualize weather
  • and so on

But at least the hardware is up and running – the rest is software :)

As I use my table next to my sofa I also mounted a normal power outlet to being able to give my laptop some juice and also added two 5V USB power outlets to charge my mobile devices.

So my coffee table will provide the light fx at my next party – and my guests can charge their phone when they run out of battery as they are just taking pictures of my table :-D

[Update 2014-12-02] first idea to use my table:  advent wreath