Galactic Unicorn (Pico W Aboard)
A programmable 53 x 11 LED matrix / sign with wireless connectivity and oodles of extras!
Galactic Unicorn is a very beautiful, all-in-one, RP2040 powered LED matrix perfect for conveying information fabulously (or for sprucing up your desktop, makingspace or imaginarium). There's a ton of features aboard this one, here are some of our favourites!
583 RGB LEDs lovingly arranged in a 53 x 11 grid, all with individual colour and brightness control.
Looks great on video - invoking RP2040 magic means we can update the LEDs really quickly (we measured around 300 fps at 14-bit precision). This means there's no nasty strobing, artifacting or brightness stepping when it's filmed, so it's perfect for adding to the background of your streaming setup.
2.4GHz wireless connectivity (courtesy of the Raspberry Pi Pico W) so you can use it to display all sorts of interesting data from the internet.
There's also an onboard amp and little speaker for bleepy alerts and *futuristic noises* and a battery connector so you can power it without it having to be tethered to a USB port. Every Galactic Unicorn comes with a pair of sleek little metal legs so it can stand up on its own (and has a selection of mounting holes if you'd prefer to do something else).
Use it to make a very fancy clock, a very fancy weather display or a very fancy output for sensors (other very fancy use cases are available).
- Raspberry Pi Pico W Aboard
- Dual Arm Cortex M0+ running at up to 133Mhz with 264kB of SRAM
- 2MB of QSPI flash supporting XiP
- Powered and programmable by USB micro-B
- 2.4GHz wireless
- 583 RGB LEDs in a 53 x 11 grid
- 3.5mm LEDs with rounded square apertures
- 6mm LED spacing
- Driven by 10 FM6047 constant current LED drivers
- MAX98357 3.2W I2S Mono Amplifier (with 30mm 1W speaker)
- Phototransistor for light sensing
- 9 tactile user buttons
- Reset button
- 2x Qw/ST (Qwiic/STEMMA QT) connectors
- JST-PH connector for attaching a battery (5.5V max)
- Fully assembled
- No soldering required.
- C/C++ and MicroPython libraries
- Schematic (coming soon)
- Galactic Unicorn (with speaker attached)
- 2 x metal legs
- USB A to micro-B cable
To make it easy to get started, Galactic Unicorn comes pre-loaded with MicroPython and a demo reel of examples.
Whether you're using C/C++ or pirate-brand MicroPython to program your Unicorn you'll have access to our PicoGraphics library, which includes handy functions for working with text, shapes and images (if you prefer, you can also control the colour and brightness of each pixel individually, of course.)
- (Learn) Getting Started with Raspberry Pi Pico
- Download pirate-brand MicroPython (you'll need the `Galactic Unicorn` .uf2)
- Galactic Unicorn function reference
- Picographics function reference
- MicroPython FAQs (and troubleshooting)
Not your everyday RGB LEDs
In our software, we use the Pico W's PIOs (Programmable IOs) to drive the LEDs. Internally, Galactic Unicorn applies gamma correction to the supplied image data and updates the display with 14-bit precision resulting in extremely linear visual output - including at the low end.
The display is refreshed around 300 times per second (300fps!) allowing for rock solid stability even when being filmed, no smearing or flickering even when in motion.
The Qw/ST connectors on Galactic Unicorn make it super easy to connect up Qwiic or STEMMA QT breakouts. If your breakout has a QW/ST connector on board, you can plug it straight in with a JST-SH to JST-SH cable.
Breakout Garden breakouts that don't have a Qw/ST connector can be connected using a JST-SH to JST-SH cable plus a Qw/ST to Breakout Garden adaptor.
- List of breakouts currently compatible with our C++/MicroPython build.
- Measurements: 330 x 78 x 10.3 mm (L x H x D, approx)
- The 8 mounting holes are M2, 3mm in from the edge, and equally spaced 108mm horizontally and 72mm vertically.
- Leg holes are M2.5.