I am unsure which youtube video I watched sorry.
I have made a circuit on a breadboard without using a microcontroller.
Try to look at Step 1 of this,
https://youtu.be/fxkEPKGgv8oThis is the link to the video I seen.
Not really if you look at the response time of your specific IR sensor.However your idea of a matrix is a lot better than a bunch of shift registers. All though with a matrix for the display LEDs you would have to keep up the multiplex rate.I recon the best bet is a multiplexed IR LED and IR sensor and use a WS2812b strip of LEDs for the visual display.