led strips?

I'm a bit confused by the crazy range of prices for addressable leds and I don't want to reinvent the wheel.

What I'd like to do is add an rgb color led to each leg of my mechamo centipede (also plan to control it with an arduino) - there are 16 on each side and I'd like a color wave to move down the line of legs in sync with the leg motion, moving backwards if the leg direction reverses. I was thinking about getting an led strip but the prices vary wildly, pixel LED's seem very expensive too, I've seen LED shileds for arduino but I don't think they can handle 32 of them.

Any advise?

Most RGB LED strips won't let you address each individual LED, all the LED's in the strip has the same color all the time.

There are some that will allow individual control, but they are expencieve, to say the least.

Thre are also some IC's that you could use, but they a not cheap either, and you would face a serious wiring challenge if you wanted to hook up 32 RGB LED's (4 wires each :-( ).

well this looks to be the most promising, if I can just figure it all out! http://www.arduino.cc/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1266369410/0