World’s largest POV display

How do you convince a power company to let you play with their multi-million-dollar wind turbine? Call yourself an artist instead of a hacker! [Michael Pendry] convinced Siemens to let him install this ‘art’ piece on the rotors of a wind turbine outside of Munich, Germany. It features 9000 LEDs, 3000 on each of the 30 meter blades, and can pump out 20,000 candelas when fully illuminated.

The problem? The blades of the power generator turn extremely slowly compared to fan-based persistence of vision displays. This makes it more of a “long-exposure” display system that is illustrated in some of their press photos. Ok, so the POV is a bit of a let-down, but the display effects achieved are still pretty impressive.

[Thanks Sam]

23 thoughts on “World’s largest POV display

  1. I wonder how it affects the efficiency of the turbine. Probably by a lot, as it likely adds a lot of drag to the engineered blades even if the LED “ballasts” are rounded…
    Art rarely goes hand in hand with efficiency I imagine.

    On the technical aspect, this is a shoddy hack. It’s not really a POV hack per se, they’re just flashing patterns and colors on the 3 blades from what people can see. It’s only if you record it/take a picture of it that you can see the POV effect.

    They also mention in one of their slides:
    “Siemens AG has created a highly visible symbol for green technologies – for the entire lighting installation uses less energy than two electric kettles.”
    I’m doubtful about the kettle part. Not too sure what kind of electric kettle they’re talking about, so let’s assume 1500W per kettle.
    They have 9000 very bright LEDs. That’s a meager 320mW per LED. They also obviously probably take into consideration that those electric kettles would have to run 24/7, something that’s not the reality. It sounds all great for people not thinking about the fact you’re not using your kettle day and night but it’s crappy PR at it’s best. :P
    They also note that the project is as brightly as 20,000 christmas tree candles, visible from 30km. Nothing to help with the doubt.

  2. At the very least, it makes the turbine way easier for planes to avoid. It’s cool that it can be photographed on long exposure to get neat images, but somewhat lame that most people won’t see the effect. If the blades are large enough to display text on, that might be a better use.

  3. I don’t know if I would call this a POV display, so much as a wind turbine with displays on each of the blades. Sure, they do some long exposure shots which show something like POV, but there is definitely more than one row of LEDs on each blade, and I think that that disqualifies this as POV.

  4. It still counts as POV because the blades spin fast enough to give the single rows of LEDs the appearance of being thicker matrix displays.

  5. @Polobunny – Man, don’t be such a hater. I’m going to guess the efficiency isn’t really affected that much (depends on how big these lights are). Though it’s probably not too impressive in person.

    I think the best thing about this hack is the fact the “social hacking” needed to install this stuff.

  6. I’m not hating Jim, I’m just questioning the utility of this. You can look at the link for pictures of the LEDs and their ballasts, you can see they are quite big and would be somewhat disruptive of the airflow even by being rather flattened.

    Plus like I said I’m doubting their claims. It seems like a lot of marketing hype to push Siemens AG as a green corporation. I enjoy the POV aspect, as little as it may be.

  7. Okay, it looks pretty cool.

    I did think that those things span faster, but I guess that’s what you get when the only time you see them is when they spin so fast they fall apart at the sound barrier (youtube). Yeah, that’d look better!

    I bet there were a few UFO reports in the first week!

  8. I saw it a few days ago from the trainline that goes to the university. Without the long exposure it is just random colorful flickering. (Maybe it will do better in a storm…) But combined with the Allianz-Arena wich is right next to it you can see two impressing light-installations at the same time!

  9. @ those who say this is drawing power and not creating it, you have no idea how much power a wind turbine makes, do you?

    anywho, as far as i could see, hackaday was the only one calling it a POV display… not the artist. or did i miss something?

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