Aaron StrickemailstrickinatoSan Francisco, CA

The Thundertube

The Thundertube

In the Winter of 2018, I attended The Recurse Center. My cohort was the first to occupy their new physical space, and the walls were unfortunately devoid of decoration.

For a halloween party, me and a couple of other Recursers wanted to put up some halloween decorations, and it completely spiraled out of control.

I was very inspired by a recent trip to Burning Man and The Recurse Center had a bin of random LED stuff. More importantly, I happened to attend at the same time as Max D, an artist from Montreal who does epic light installations professionally. For his job, he'd been developing an LED control board built on top of the Teensy Ecosystem.

We wrapped a series of lights around a big tube and called it the thundertube. We built a frontend live coding interface for it.

Anyone next to the board could write a function from time to a list of RGB values (Time -> ArrayBuffer<[r,g,b...]>). In real time, the interface running on a raspberry pi would send that data over UDP to the lights, and it would light up the night straight thunder style.

Check out the github page for more, or see what it looked like here:

2023 Update

I've learned, 5 years later, as the Recurse Center has re-opened it's space in Brooklyn that the Thundertube has been brought back to life!!


Check out Max D's freeliner project. It's really cool.