Netflix “Maniac” GRTA Mainframe

The main antagonist in Netflix’s 2018 series Maniac, the GRTA mainframe computer, is described as the most advanced artificial intelligence ever created.

It seems fitting then, that when forum user waltsatan aka Alan Watts received the call to bring production designer Alex DiGerlando’s vision to life, he selected a Teensy 3.1 to power it.

Gertie, as she is more affectionately known, consists of 1,476 addressable RGB LEDs, along with 7-segment numerical displays, analog meters, and “hard drive” activity lights. The resultant visual output matches the camera’s frame rate in order to allow the computer’s “actual” animations to be used directly, rather than simulated in post. Time-based animations are generated via a custom GUI and PHP script, and run autonomously or in a user-controlled “puppet” mode.

Much like the show’s Dr. James Mantleray, we fell hopelessly in love with this more modern and empathetic version of HAL 9000, and were blown away to learn that Alan created her in under 5 weeks!