This is a 256 LED matrix connected to Max7219 display drivers and programmed with an Arduino. Essentially, the Arduino is the brain behind the operation and the Max chip is the translator that speaks to the LEDs telling them when to turn on and off. The grid is separated into 8×8 quadrants and uses 4 Max7219 chips to drive a total of 16×16 rows and columns. The Arduino gives the Max7219 chip random numbers 0-8 to the digit and segment pins and lights up a single LED in its quadrant. By programming (with LOTS of help from Dino Dai Zovi) the display at 8000 one LED per grid lights up individually at a slow rate. Since computers don’t have opposable thumbs, this is where the human comes in. You get to put the legos where the computer instructs you to if you’re obedient. Once the computer has created its sculpture you can set the display to 3 or 4 and make it blink really fast turning it into a mesmerizing machine! Or a chandelier if you turn it upside down. You can also program patterns in the code rather than randomizing it, imitating lego instructions to build an object or map out visual data. The clear lego plates and bricks were found on ebay. The grid was built by Alicia Gibb and Becky Brauer. Look for upcoming LED Matrix building classes at NYCR.