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One of the very first projects I ever did on YouTube was an Remote Controlled On Air sign, so that my family knew when I was trying to record..  theoretically so they could be quiet. I used it for a long time (it’s still mounted above my door ) but I kept finding new things that I wish I could do with it. Over time, the idea evolved into a display that I could change any time I wanted to, which led me down the path of searching out a display that wouldn’t be too expensive, and a small brain to control it.  I’d been looking for a good first Raspberry Pi project to do, and this perfectly fit the bill.

I loved the idea of using arcade buttons so that I could add an image to the button itself, as well as have it light up in reaction to being pressed, and once I found the 32×32 matrix and Pi Hat, I knew this was the setup I needed. This was my first time programming anything for the Raspberry Pi, and using Python. I learned just enough to get my script working, but it was much easier than I expected overall.

If you’d like to get the code and images that I used, you can grab them on GitHub. If you’d like to see more detail on the code, I made a basic walkthrough video as well.