I decided it’s time to tackle what I assumed would be the most challenging problem with poor Johnny. I was not wrong to assume that, but I learned a lot along the way. The area in question is the Dot Matrix Display. These were added to pinball machines in the early 1990s as a tool for game designers to create more gameplay depth. It allows the game to display much more detailed state information, as well as introducing mini-games (called video modes) played on the display itself. Interestingly, these “DMD”s have become so iconic of pinball that they have persisted long after more advanced alternatives became practical. People love orange dots! Interesting side note about that- for some reason, the conventional jargon for the picture elements on these displays is “dots”, not “pixels” as you might expect. I’m not sure why, but I’ll use that nomenclature in this article.
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, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, 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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