Quantum Jungle

What do you get when you cross 12,000 LEDs with a pile of Teensy 4.1s and ESP32s, then toss in  Schrödinger’s Equation for good measure?

If you guessed something along the lines of “Robin Baumgarten’s latest project” then we will gladly award you full credit, plus bonus points if your guess was based on having read about his Teensy 3.2-powered Quantum Garden project on our blog back in 2018. Robin’s latest project is overgrown with even more LEDs, even more spring door stopper things, and even more all-around awesomeness in the form of a Quantum Jungle!

Like the Garden, the Quantum Jungle uses the three Teensy boards to render LED data. Using the TriantaduoWS2811 library, they are able to realize 1.065 million LED updates per second while using zero CPU cycles. A PC running a custom C# application sends the LED data over the Teensy’s 100Mbit Ethernet, as well as handling all the fancy quantum stuff in Python. The springs are connected to NXP MPR121 capacitive touch sensor controllers, which are in turn connected to ESP8266s in order to overcome I2C address limitations involved in connecting the controllers directly to the three Teensy boards. An additional ESP8266 reads their data over Wi-Fi frequencies using ESP-NOW, without the need for a router. This in turn is connected to one of the Teensy 4.1s, which sends the touch data back to the PC over Ethernet for processing.

More information about the project can be found on Robin’s web site, as well as in the video below.