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The Laser Doodler

Over at ch00ftech, there is a great tutorial on using an Adafruit LED matrix as a display, and a sensor.

So when this display arrived in the mail, I wanted something to do with it so I could get accustomed to the pinout and LED intensity. I thought it would be fun to create a simple display that can be “drawn on” with a light source. An LED would work, but using a laser allows you to doodle from across the room if your hand is steady enough.

In order to accomplish this, the display needed to alternate between being a display and being a sensor. During its sensor stage, it records where the laser dot is located, and during its display stage, it lights up the LED associated with the laser dot’s position. But how do you make an LED matrix into a sensor matrix?


Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

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