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but with daisy-chained shift registers you can drive hundreds, or even thousands. It's just a concept, that I wanted to show a few years back. It all started with a work project, which had to be cheap and include over 50 LED segments, 5 buttons and 4 relays. Spent a whole week learning assembly to make it work, but it paid off in a long run. The entire code with self-test routines fit in 1KB with some room to spare, and the PCB layout came out a lot easier, since every 6-8 segments were only connected to a 74HC595, while the rest was hanging on the same serial bus.And there's also an aspect of power. You cannot drive more than a few LEDs at full brightness directly from a microcontroller.
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