Intro The Wall of Fame

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What is the Wall Of Fame?

Simply put, it is a giant RGB wall made completely out of keyboards that can be used to stream and display all kinds of images.

But there is more to it than meets the eye!

It is an entire ecosystem, with different types of applications running in the background processing input and passing the result to be displayed by the keyboards. All of these applications have to be monitored in case something goes wrong or a new version has to be rolled out. We encountered many challenges during deployment but as a result we created a beautiful eye-catcher using state of the art architecture, drawing attention wherever we go!

Why would you build a Wall Of Fame?

Well, because we can! The project started as an internship, giving a student the possibility to create a small RGB panel consisting of 3 keyboards. After successfully reverse engineering the driver for the keyboards, we knew this project had great potential. After the internship I joined the project, attracted by all the mesmerising lights. Together we worked hard on the code that controls the keyboards and the supporting applications improving the performance and allowing for better scalability. Soon we were able to build a bigger panel consisting of 36 keyboards and the first Wall Of Fame was born.

Of course we weren’t satisfied just yet and we managed to increase the size to a whopping 54 keyboards. Besides challenging ourselves with building the Wall Of Fame, we also created it to take along with us to all kinds of events. It is a big part of our hackaton, job fairs or other events that we get invited to. Besides that, I still have to meet the first visitor of our office that isn’t distracted by all the flickering lights! A good example is the recent visit of HashiCorp representatives, where we could impress with our original use of their tools. But more on that later!

What does the future look like

The Wall Of Fame is far from finished. There are many improvements to be made! Not only for the software, but for the hardware as well. The wall has undergone major improvements during its existence. It started as a simple wooden plank holding 3 keyboards. From there we evolved to a simple IKEA closet with a giant panel attached to it. This was an improvement, but it wasn’t quite good enough, we wanted to increase the modularity. So from the closet we went to small boxes, each containing 2 keyboards each. This makes moving and setup easier, but even then it is not perfect. We still have some ideas in the pipeline the improve the design and achieve a completely modular and plug-and-play setup.

For the software part it’s mostly bug fixing and adding new features. We have a very solid setup allowing us to easily integrate multiple streams and inputs. I will come back to that in a follow-up article, showing exactly how everything works together, but our setup allows us to keep on adding new applications with ease and very little setup. At the moment we have the possibility to show a clock, animations, images, twitter feed and many more.

But this is only the beginning, the sky is truly the limit for the Wall Of Fame.

Arne Adriaenssens

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