The Fadecandy Controller hardware drives up to 512 LEDs, arranged as 8 logical strips of up to 64 LEDs each. It connects to a laptop, Raspberry Pi, or other embedded computer over USB. Larger projects can use USB extension cables and hubs to drive many controllers. By controlling your lights with a computer much more powerful than the Arduino, you have the creative freedom to include new layers of nuance and interactivity in your art.
Fadecandy's temporal dithering algorithm can create super-smooth fades and nuanced colors at a remarkably wide range of brightness levels. The controller hardware updates every LED about 400 times per second to rapidly oscillate between nearby brightness levels for each color primary, gaining some additional brightness precision. This precision gets even higher when averaging over time or space, meaning that larger or more diffuse sculptures achieve even higher levels of precision in low-brightness colors. In addition to this dithering algorithm, the Fadecandy firmware's 48-bit color processing pipeline includes gamma correction, white balance, brightness control, and keyframe interpolation.
Fadecandy is open source, so you can customize any part of the software or hardware when you're inspired to push the boundaries of what's possible. Since the initial hand-assembled run of 100 prototype units in November 2013, production has been a collaboration with Adafruit. They test and program each board using manufacturing hardware built in collaboration with Ryan from RGB-123, who also sells a variant of the Fadecandy Controller alongside his LED matrix boards.
Special thanks to Paul Stoffregen, Star Simpson, Limor Fried, Phillip Torrone, Ryan O'Hara, and Ardent Heavy Industries.