Their address was 566 Alpha Drive, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At that address now is a new startup called PowerHarvester. Hm.
It is a pi + a condenser mic which generates visualizations in response to sound.
The panels are from adafruit - there's 4 32x32 panels so you need a beefy PSU to power them.
The visualizations listed there are:
1. an STFT (this is simple to compute - look @ numpy.fft.rfft
2. an energy based vis - light up n pixels where n is proportional to the energy of the frame (this is the integral of the function squared).
3. another energy based vis where if enough energy accumulates particles fall (acceleration proportional to energy).
The code's super kludgy; I'll release it once it is cleaned up.
The Nixplay device is quite good, regretfully the UX of their website is horrendous. And there I see a problem. If someone would build a selfhosted version of "Facebook for grannies" with an Raspberry PI: open source projects are not known for their excellent UI/UX designs.
Time will come, and given the feedback I hear on the Nixplay, I expect that one day we'll have these devices all over in houses of elderly, either connected to a special screen or connected to the TV set.
 replace with Instagram, Flikr or your favorite photos sharing app/site
Part of the problem is that the web UI is as dire as you mention. Another part is that in trying to be helpful, they offer ways to connect the thing up to a dozen different photo services, but the sheer number of choices they present ends up paralyzing non-technical folks who just want to upload a damn photo.
They really need to concentrate on having dead simple iPhone/Android apps that do one thing and one thing only: take photos on your phone and push them to your Nixplay. (Or integrate "Send to my Nixplay" as an option camera apps and the like can tap into, via intents or whatever.) Do one thing really well instead of a dozen things poorly.
Good you mention the Apps, I forgot. Indeed the app is quite useless and how difficult could it be to have a Send To action? With an option to add comment, like in WhatsApp.
Indeed, do one thing good and skip the rest or offer one alternative like email. Also focus on a single device per logon with a single watch list. Given the number of complaints on their forums they don't listen and it is just a matter of time for (self hosted) alternatives to appear.
Here's one Instructable I found with one idea for an Ambilight clone:
Nothing old about Ambilight, they still make those screens (and now powered by LED's they are better than they ever were). They also integrate with Hue lights as well so that your whole room can react to the screen (which in practice is pretty naff, but if you have an ambilight TV and Hue lights you'll probably try it at least once with Finding Nemo) :)
You either have a wire you have to hide, or you have to remember to charge the frame regularly. All that costs energy. Then of course it's always backlit, which seems odd. Do I really want a glowing rectangle on my walls? Not really. It kind of kills the vibe. Perhaps eink would be better, but beating dyed paper is hard.
I wrote up some of the options at https://unop.uk/adding-basic-authentication-to-screenly-ose but they all seem to run on a full Rasbian stack.
1. Micro kernel with just file,net,graphics support
2. Fetch data via sockets (can be http, but not restricted to)
3. Parse the data for layout info and data values
4. build a frame buffer in memory, and place data (images/text) accordingly
5. write frame to display
7. goto #2
Any ready to roll *nix distro is WAY too heavyweight for the above, so a custom OS or even mini-distro is definitely the way to go.
You also get less artefacts if the system is designed for this purpose. You are less likely to see cursors, modal dialogue boxes, crash dumps/notifications, window chrome/frame or other unwanted UI elements. Admittedly, this is more a problem with Windows (for example, BSODs and Windows 10 upgrade pestering). I regularly notice public display screens where something is broken in this way.
Perhaps the latest browsers don't support RISC OS though, which could be an issue for very modern sites. It looks like this idea is for a frame buffer approach so you could render the page in the cloud and just push the resulting image. It would be sensible to have a local cache anyway in case the network dies.
The one presented in this article is an good example of bloat in modern software.
A full GNU/Linux OS + browser for reading images and copying them into the framebuffer!
Advanced bonus points:
1) (simpler version), connect to a calendar service, and match photos to calendar. (e.g. you have a visit from your brother on saturday, so show photos of him and your kids that day).
2) (more advanced), use a camera to recognize people in the room, and base photos on these (I can these the perfect host mode, where a perfect host would find photos from the basement and put on mantelpiece before a friend come to visit, making that person feel special).
so many thins that could be cool here!
I would be perhaps tempted to instead look for an old Android tablet. If you could get a 2013 Nexus 7 or some 10" tablet with a decent screen it might be a cheaper and easier way to do it. USB power + either some Android app or depending upon the device you might be able to run a different Linux distro on it. Looks like the Linx 10 goes pretty cheap sometimes too.
# The humans responsible & technology colophon
Paul Stamatiou -- @Stammy
Jekyll + AWS S3/CF site hosting
HTML5, CSS3 (SCSS)
Edit: now working...
My only concern is power expenditure - I have minimal knowledge of kWh price of using such a display.
But all in all, some people really like these DIY projects - and others don't. Nothing wrong with that!