Introduction: The Matrix Neopixel Digital Rain Lampshade

Now, the red one or the blue one? Ok, this is green. I only offer this instructable. Nothing more.

See a part of The Matrix unfold in front of your very eyes.

Make this cool lampshade that looks like it has the xMatrix Digital Rain screensaver running.

Step 1: You Chose Wisely...

The truth is that this is only the Adafruit cyberfall wig tutorial done and applied to a lampshade.

The project uses an Adafruit Trinket attiny85 based microcontroller with neopixel strips to create a digital rain light up effect under the lampshade. If you do not have an arduino of some sort and neopixel strips, you can probably make do with those meteor shower/shooting star/raindrop icicle LED string lights that are widely available for Christmas decorations.

The lights shine through a filter mask which is the screen capture of the screensaver used in the movie. I really couldn't find a high res clear screenshot of the text matrix characters.

Step 2: Light It Up...

The Adafruit Learning System has a good tutorial to follow on constructing and programming the electronics.

I used an Adafruit 5v Trinket and pieces of neopixel strips that I had from previous projects.

I had 5 neopixel strips with 10,9,29,30 and 30 neopixels. The odd numbers as a result of maiming the strips when trying to solder new lead wires on the cut ends.

I placed a set of female headers onto the male headers already soldered on the Trinket pinouts. This is so I can remove the Trinket board from the wiring harness and maybe use it somewhere else later on.

I wired up my battery pack(3 AAA) to the BATT and GND.

I wired up each strip's DATA IN line to the digital output pins on the board.

The 5v + and ground wires from the neopixel strips were consolidated onto jumper wires to the BATT and GND pin on the board. You can use a lithium polymer battery pack if you have one.

Load up the same sketch. You can change the value of the color variables in the sketch to get different colors if you like. Experiment to get a different look.

Step 3: What's Really Inside the Matrix...

I used GIMP to turn the matrix screensaver image into a black and white one. I am printing it out on a laserjet toner printer so it wouldn't make a good green light filter. The neopixels will be shining green light anyway.

I also played around with GIMP to do a cage transform and perspective transform to try to get it to the more trapezoidal shape needed to fit the inside curved surface of the lampshade. I made it two sheets wide to cover a larger surface area. Tape together and then tape to the inside of the lampshade.

Layer a piece of sheet fiberfill batting to cover the image.

Position the neopixel strips so the lights fall down in a digital rain pattern. With the longer strips I had, I bent then back in a Z shape so the last part will still be oriented in the proper position. I used some black electrical tape to block out the middle part lights since they will be seen as flowing up in the wrong direction. I did not want to cut the neopixel strips into smaller segments.

Use clear packing tape to cover the entire assembly and fix it to the lampshade.

The battery pack was electrical taped to one of the lampshade's center support rods on top of the frame.

Step 4: Das Blinkenlights...

Reinstall the lampshade on your lamp.

Use as a regular lampshade or spin it around to reveal the matrix.

Dim the lights and turn the Trinket on.

Enjoy the new reality!

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