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Digital LED Pixels: Instructions for use and a characterization of their properties

Jones, P.R.; Garcia, S.E.; Nardini, M.

Digital LED Pixels: Instructions for use and a characterization of their properties Thumbnail


P.R. Jones

S.E. Garcia


This article details how to control light emitting diodes (LEDs) using an ordinary desktop computer. By combining digitally addressable LEDs with an off-the-shelf microcontroller (Arduino), multiple LEDs can be controlled independently and with a high degree of temporal, chromatic, and luminance precision. The proposed solution is safe (can be powered by a 5-V battery), tested (has been used in published research), inexpensive (∼ $60 + $2 per LED), highly interoperable (can be controlled by any type of computer/operating system via a USB or Bluetooth connection), requires no prior knowledge of electrical engineering (components simply require plugging together), and uses widely available components for which established help forums already exist. Matlab code is provided, including a ‘minimal working example’ of use suitable for use by beginners. Properties of the recommended LEDs are also characterized, including their response time, luminance profile, and color gamut. Based on these, it is shown that the LEDs are highly stable in terms of both luminance and chromaticity, and do not suffer from issues of warm-up, chromatic shift, and slow response times associated with traditional CRT and LCD monitor technology.


Jones, P., Garcia, S., & Nardini, M. (2016). Digital LED Pixels: Instructions for use and a characterization of their properties. Behavior Research Methods, 48(4), 1266-1284.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 10, 2015
Online Publication Date Oct 20, 2015
Publication Date Dec 1, 2016
Deposit Date Aug 10, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 18, 2015
Journal Behavior Research Methods
Print ISSN 1554-351X
Electronic ISSN 1554-3528
Publisher Psychonomic Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 48
Issue 4
Pages 1266-1284
Keywords Light emitting diode, Arduino, Luminance, Timing, Color gamut.


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (4.4 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance online version © The Author(s) 2015. This article is published with open access at This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License<br /> (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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