Internet controlled scrolling numitron

How’s this for a first microcontroller project: a ticker that pulls messages from the Internet and scrolls them on a set of numitrons. [David Barton] built this using an mbed microcontroller. Tapping an ethernet library he got this to pull data from his server by connecting directly to the cat5 cables. The display consists of three numitrons which are incandescent 7-segment displays. In the video after the break you can see him sending messages to it from his iPod touch. This is just a PHP form that writes the submitted message to a file for the mbed to read. As [David] points out, there’s obvious Twittering applications here, but we just like the way it looks!


  1. Brian says:

    That is really clever. I love numitron clocks, but this is one of the few truly creative uses I’ve seen beyond simply showing time. Just don’t tell /b/ the address of the server.

  2. googfan says:

    The problem with numitrons is the really slow response time. Hard to scroll fast.

  3. markii says:

    smoken cool

  4. isama says:

    wouldn’t it be logical to reverse the order of the numitrons? or is it just me?

  5. Wonko says:

    IP – Not a public address – Most home routers use and issue addresses in the range

  6. Gilliam says:

    @brian: Rules # 1 and 2 /B/ro!

    the digital number version of nixie tubes, huh?
    add a decatron(?sp?) to indicate incoming messages.

  7. troll says:

    you could have done that with an arduino though…
    haha.. seriously just trolling..
    i think its pretty cool..

  8. HIrudinea says:

    More numitrons would be more cooler.

  9. brian says:

    @HIrudinea – more numitrons for sure!

    @googfan – this seems like a good application for alphanumeric neon tubes – much faster refresh time:

  10. Alan Parekh says:

    Love the old school look. You need a full line of them though. Then you could read an email line by line.

  11. Jono says:

    More numitrons would be more hotter, not cooler. Incandescent=hot

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