Have you ever wanted to show real-time tweets in a giant screen?

A few months ago, during the campaign for local elections, we (I and some school mates) were asked to develop a solution to show real-time tweets in a showcase. We felt that the offer was interesting and began looking around for a solution. We ended up with doing it nearly from scratch. This post briefly describes what we did.


We bought 4 of these matrices leading to a 8x128 giant matrix.

We did not require much computational power, so we chose the Raspberry Pi with a USB WiFi adapter (for instance, this one)


Flashmat matrices use the well-known I2C bus. Through the GPIO pins on the Raspberry we connected SDA + SCL. Then we connected VCC (at +5V) and GND.


Full details about software have been published on my GitHub account. The project is open source and available under the GPL v3 license. It includes some code by C&D Elettronica which is released under the GPL license.

Follow the step by step guide to setup the software part, which consists of a C++ program to communicate with matrices and a python script to download tweets.


We packaged matrices and the Raspberry in a 3D-printed orange case and everyone was happy:

Here’s a closer view (with the text rendered in green):