While it is possible to run yours Raspberry Pi without a head (without monitor), half the fun is using the small computer to control the display for videos, games and an endless array of visuals. However, one of the best screen options should be RGB matrices. Today we have a fantastic matrix project composed by Allen from Allen’s Lab, which created an impressively comprehensive scoreboard for its 64 x 32 matrix.
At the time of writing, this is the only project on Allen’s Lab’s YouTube channel. However, the channel description shows plans to upload more projects in the future, ranging from robotics and 3D printing to coding projects from scratch.
If future projects are as rich in features as this, we are definitely pleased. This dashboard includes many tools, including basic things like time and time display and integration with external applications such as Notion, a system used to track to-do lists, and Spotify.
A closer look at the hardware inside shows that the Raspberry Pi 3B + is the main controller, but there’s no reason you can’t use the Raspberry Pi 4 instead. You can control a matrix using something smaller like a Pico, but you’ll need something a little better to take advantage of Allen’s feature pack. The case is 3D printed with PETG and designed with a solid panel covering the matrix, thin enough to illuminate the LEDs. The case also has a rotation function and a tilt switch that changes the screen orientation when activated.
Allen programmed the Python dashboard in conjunction with Hzeller’s RGB matrix library found on GitHub. Weather updates are downloaded from Open the weather map, while Pushbullet processes phone notifications. The choice of dashboard application is through a rotary encoder, which includes a GIF player, Game of Life and even a YouTube subscriber counter.