Making the Black Hole - Part 1: We explore lighting

So, hey, this is Paul Nelson, the composer for Black Hole Wedding, and yes, I’m a nerd and I love to program. And so, naturally, I started to wonder how I could jazz up the Black Hole with some fun lighting effects, and, even better, maybe I could synchronize the lights to the music?

After all, who hasn’t always wanted to make their own Christmas Light Display synchronized with music?

Okay, so the thought is that I’ll create a big ring of LED lights which surround the black hole

And so, after some research, I bought a 5-meter strip of Adafruit Neopixel LEDs and connected it up to my Raspberry Pi, which I had previously used to implement a game show control system for a “College Bowl” at my group’s annual kickoff. Of course, there was some additional research, how to wire the whole thing up? I bought the recommended 5v-10amp power supply (also sold by Adafruit) and a 74AHCT125 buffer (to convert from the 3.3V from the Pi to the 5V required by the LED strip), but then… amazingly… it worked FIRST TIME.


I mean, I fired up my Pi, downloaded the necessary utilities using PIP, then wrote a simple program:

pixels[0] = (255, 0, 0)


This was, of course, very cool.

After that, there was no limit. I started writing programs to explore all of the different effects I could achieve with the lights. You can see my results with this special video playlist.


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