BlinkyTape is a super-cool LED strip with full-color RGB LEDs and an integrated microcontroller. We created BlinkyTape in order to make LEDs easier to use. A big part of this was making sure that it's easy to make programs that will talk to BlinkyTape. But -- and this is a big but -- you don't need to program in order to make your BlinkyTape do awesome stuff.
The BlinkyTape is a one meter strip of flexible PCB material containing 60 RGB LEDs. At one end is our custom light processor, the BlinkyBoard. The BlinkyTape comes enclosed in a weatherproof silicone tubing.
BlinkyTape is a one meter long, full-color light tape with 60 independent RGB LEDs controlled by our custom light processor. Power and communications are provided by a built-in micro-USB connector. An on-board button allows for simple interactions such as choosing between effects. BlinkyTape is flexible, so you can easily integrate it into any shape your project needs. BlinkyTape also comes enclosed in weatherproof silicone, so it’s suitable for outdoor use!
Patterns can be stored directly on the BlinkyTape, so there’s no need for a dedicated computer. Taking designs on the go is as simple as plugging the BlinkyTape into a USB battery pack!
The BinkyTape comes with bright, colorful built-in patterns, but of course you will want to make your own!
The BlinkyTape comes with a rich set of companion software that run cross-platform on Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. Creating custom animations is as easy as plugging the BlinkyTape into your computer and startingPatternPaint. Patterns can be edited in real-time, or saved to the strip for playback away from the computer.
Need some sweet lighting for your next party? No problem, hook a couple of BlinkyTapes up to your USB port, fire up DiscoParty, and you’ll have flashing colors and bright lights in no time.
Our favorite thing about the BlinkyTape is how easy it is to program to meet your own needs. The BlinkyTape understands a simple serial protocol over USB, and we have plenty of example code for controlling the BlinkyTape using free programming environments such as Processing and Python. Of course, it’s possible to go even lower level. The BlinkyTape uses the same ATMEGA32u4 processor that you will find in the Arduino Leonardo, and can be programmed using the same easy-to-learn Arduino programming environment. We provide plenty of examples to get your project started!
We strongly believe in open source, and the BlinkyTape is no exception. All of the design files, PCB layouts, and source code are available now on Github. Got a cool extension or some neat patterns? Please share them! Operators are standing by to review your pull requests.
Every one of the projects in our Kickstarter video is what we like to call a Speed Project. Speed Projects are typically done in one sitting and we think that these really show off how powerful the BlinkyTape can be!
The Blinky Hat started its life as a $7 hat found on the streets of Shenzhen, China. With the help of some double-sided tape, we wrapped a BlinkyTape around the hat brim and plugged it into our computer. We used the live preview feature of PatternPaint to map out which LEDs were part of the front-left, front-right, and rear parts of the hat. From there it was a simple matter of making some sweet animations and saving them to the BlinkyTape. The last step was to simply unplug from the computer and plug into a portable USB charger! More Information
Inspired by the computer-screens-projected-on-faces effects in a popular sci-fi film, this project required only a BlinkyTape, some double-sided sticky tape, and a 4-sided box. With the BlinkyTape attached to the front of the box we loaded up PatternPaint to make some cool looking animations that would light up our victi-, er, actor’s face. After saving the pattern to the BlinkyTape, we just needed to find a dark, quiet place to film! More Information
Armed with 3 BlinkyTapes mounted in our aluminum diffuser tubes, a USB hub for power, and a MacBook Pro for the tunes, this project was a breeze to set up. Using the awesome SoundFlower from Cycling ’74, we looped the laptop’s outgoing audio back in to the system input. This gives a clean audio signal to our DiscoParty app, which runs in Processing and makes use of the built-in beat detection analysis that Processing provides. Warning: This project is super quick to set up, but we had so much fun tweaking the various visual effects that we spent hours playing with it afterwards. More Information
This project used a BlinkyTape mounted in an aluminum diffuser tube, a camera with a long exposure setting, and a dark place to shoot pictures. PatternPaint makes light painting super simple with its image import functionality. Since the BlinkyTape has 60 RGB LEDs, we can load in almost any image that is 60 pixels tall. By saving the pattern to the BlinkyTape and powering it with a portable USB charger, we can make ridiculously awesome light paintings anywhere and everywhere (that it is dark enough to do so). More Information
We are so glad you asked. The main BlinkyTape page some great links to help you learn about basic usage, including how to make your own programs and new firmware. In fact, why don’t you leap on over to the page that talks about how to program for BlinkyTape in Processing!
Pattern Paint is the companion software for you BlinkyTape. It’s a drawing program for light! With it, you can:
Note to Windows Users: PatternPaint contains the drivers necessary to talk to BlinkyTape, so you’ll need to install PatternPaint before using any of the other software or libraries listed below.
Want to jam out to your favorite tunes, accompanied by a sweet BlinkyTape-powered light show, or add some great ambience to your computer setup? Try these out!
These projects don’t require programming, but you’ll need to install & load the code into Processing to use them. Start with DiscoParty and we’re here to help if you run into trouble.
Got some programming chops? First off, welcome! We’re real glad you’re here. BlinkyTape is a community project, and we really need people like you in order to continue the awesomization of LED strips everywhere.
The BlinkyTape comes ready to talk to your computer over USB. We’ve provided a couple of libraries to get you started, but you should be able to write programs to control the BlinkyTape in any language that supports serial communications.
Don’t forget to share your creations in the Blinkinlabs forums!
We love Processing because it is one of the fastest ways to bang out pretty, interactive applications to control your BlinkyTape.
Check out the BlinkyTape Processing docs for more info on how to get started with Processing.
Python is another great language for getting up and running quickly with BlinkyTape. Plus, it’s available on all kinds of neat platforms like the Raspberry Pi, which makes it great for creating embedded projects.
You can find the BlinkyTape Python library on GitHub.
Processing and Python are a good starting place, but there are also some great community-created libraries for using other languages.
Oskari Okko Ojala’s Perl Device::BlinkyTape (example code)
Tony Buser’s Ruby Gem
leojhartiv’s Java/Groovy library
William Poussier’s Go library
We’d love to keep adding to this list! Please drop us a line the Blinkinlabs forums with info about your own!
Want to go the next level down and run your own programs directly on the BlinkyTape? Awesome. We want you to do that, too!
The software that comes on your BlinkyTape is written using the Arduino programming language. If you’re interested in making a new stand-along BlinkyTape program, you probably want to create a new sketch using Arduino.
We’ve got some docs to get you started with BlinkyTape and Arduino over here.
Having trouble with your BlinkyTape? Have no fear! We are here to help.
BlinkyTape is Open Source Hardware. That means we make available all the software, firmware, and even the circuit board designs so that you have the best understanding, and most control over, your BlinkyTape.
In exchange, we hope that you’ll share your own improvements back with the BlinkyTape community!
You’ll find our source files over on the Blinkinlabs Github page.
Example of an application in a case mod