Cosmic Unicorn (Pico W Aboard)

by Pimoroni

A *super sized* programmable 32 x 32 LED matrix / sign with wireless connectivity and oodles of extras! 🦄

Psst - we heard you like space unicorns, so we made you an even bigger space unicorn 😎 Cosmic Unicorn is a very beautiful, all-in-one, RP2040 powered LED matrix for when you want to convey information fabulously *and* ginormously. Here are some of our favourite features!

🌈 1,024 RGB LEDs (!) arranged in a 32 x 32 grid on an 8" square PCB, all with individual colour and brightness control. We're in mad love with these big bright squircular LEDs with their rounded apertures and built in diffusion.

📷 Looks great on video - invoking RP2040 magic means we can update the LEDs really quickly (we measured around 300 fps at 14-bit precision). This means there's no nasty strobing, artifacting or brightness stepping when it's filmed, so it's perfect for adding to the background of your streaming setup.

🌍 2.4GHz wireless connectivity (courtesy of the Raspberry Pi Pico W) so you can use it to display all sorts of interesting data from the internet.

There's also an onboard amp and little speaker for bleepy alerts and *futuristic noises* and a battery connector so you can power it without it having to be tethered to a USB portEvery Cosmic Unicorn comes with a pair of sleek metal legs so it can stand up on its own (and has a selection of mounting holes if you'd prefer to do something else). 

Use it to scroll very fancy messages, display very fancy generative art or embed it into very fancy armour to impress your enemies. Alternatively, if you want to go big or go home you could get six and build one heck of a fancy cube!

What's new? 🕶

As well as adding 441 extra LEDs, we've added some new wireless examples for Cosmic plus some that use NumPy magic to generate super speedy graphical effects in MicroPython.

You could also take a peep at the very new Bluetooth functionality of the Pico W - the alpha Blunicorn firmware turns a Cosmic (or Galactic) Unicorn into a Bluetooth speaker with fancy FFT visualisation. 📊


  • Raspberry Pi Pico W Aboard
    • Dual Arm Cortex M0+ running at up to 133Mhz with 264kB of SRAM
    • 2MB of QSPI flash supporting XiP
    • Powered and programmable by USB micro-B
    • 2.4GHz wireless
  • 1,024 RGB LEDs in a 32 x 32 grid
    • 3.5mm LEDs with rounded square apertures
    • 6mm LED spacing
    • Driven by 12 FM6047 constant current LED drivers
  • MAX98357 3.2W I2S Mono Amplifier (with 30mm 1W speaker)
  • Phototransistor for light sensing
  • 9 tactile user buttons
  • Reset button
  • 2x Qw/ST (Qwiic/STEMMA QT) connectors
  • JST-PH connector for attaching a battery (5.5V max)
  • Fully assembled
  • No soldering required.
  • C/C++ and MicroPython libraries
  • Schematic
  • Dimensional drawing

Kit includes

  • Cosmic Unicorn (with speaker attached)
  • 2 x (extra long) metal legs
  • USB A to micro-B cable


To make it easy to get started, Cosmic Unicorn comes pre-loaded with MicroPython and a demo reel of examples.

If you're using C/C++ or pirate-brand MicroPython to program your Unicorn, you'll have access to our PicoGraphics library, which includes handy functions for displaying text, shapes and images. You can also control the colour and brightness of each pixel individually, of course!




Not your everyday RGB LEDs

In our software, we use the Pico W's PIOs (Programmable IOs) to drive the LEDs. Internally, Cosmic Unicorn applies gamma correction to the supplied image data and updates the display with 14-bit precision resulting in extremely linear visual output - including at the low end.

The display is refreshed around 300 times per second (300fps!) allowing for rock solid stability even when being filmed, no smearing or flickering even when in motion.

Connecting Breakouts

The Qw/ST connectors on Cosmic Unicorn make it super easy to connect up Qwiic or STEMMA QT breakouts. If your breakout has a QW/ST connector on board, you can plug it straight in with a JST-SH to JST-SH cable

Breakout Garden breakouts that don't have a Qw/ST connector can be connected using a JST-SH to JST-SH cable plus a Qw/ST to Breakout Garden adaptor. Want to use >2 breakouts at the same time? Try this adaptor!


  • Measurements: 204mm x 204mm x 10.2 mm (L x H x D, max depth at battery connector)
  • The 7 mounting holes are M2, 3mm in from the edge, and equally spaced 99mm horizontally and vertically. The leg holes are M2.5 (we've added two sets so you can adjust the angle).
  • Power consumption stats! ⚡ We measured Cosmic Unicorn as consuming just over 1A at maximum brightness, full white. When choosing a battery, consider that the LEDs will look their best when they have access to at least 3.6V of power. At lower voltage levels you will start to see the blue elements of the LEDs fading out - this starts to become very noticeable at 2.9V and below. For best results when running on battery, we'd suggest powering this one with a chunky LiPo (check out the extras for some suggestions).
  • Note that Cosmic Unicorn has no battery charging hardware onboard - this is so you can use it safely with either alkaline or LiPo batteries. You'll need a separate battery charger to charge up your LiPo battery (we like LiPo Amigo).

About Pico W Aboard

Our new Pico W Aboard products come with a built in Raspberry Pi Pico W. This means you get all the advantages of a RP2040 microcontroller - a speedy fast dual-core ARM processor, a dynamic, growing ecosystem and a choice of different programming methods to experiment with. Most excitingly though, Pico W has wireless connectivity, so your Pico/RP2040 devices can communicate with each other, and the internet! 🌍

View all Pico W Aboard!