Netflix's Maniac Mainframe [GRTA]

Fabrication and programming of a "horribly depressed" mainframe for Netflix's Maniac.

Justin Theroux hugs the mainframe / Photo by Michele K. Short / © Netflix Netflix's <i>Maniac</i> Mainframe [GRTA] image

GRTA consisted of 1,476 RGB addressable LEDs controlled by a Teensy 3.2. Visuals were drawn in a custom GUI and the time-based animation data was generated by a PHP script that was dispatched over a specially-crafted serial protocol. In addition to the LEDs, the protocol also supported manipulating the 7-segment numerical displays, analog panel meters, backlights, and hard drive activity lights. Triggered by various key commands, the mainframe could run autonomously or enter a user-controlled puppet mode.


  • Arduino/C++
  • PHP
  • Javascript
  • Circuit design
  • Fabrication
  • SVG


YouTube: Maniac | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix
IMDb: Alan Watts, mainframe programmer


© 2019 Alan Watts / Data X   [top]