Illuminated moveable type

[Rob Stewart] put in a lot of time and built this lighted display at great expense. It displays four letter words using a word association algorithm to pick the next term to show. What interests us is the motorized display. It is made up of fluorescent tubes but they’re not fixed in place. Each can be rotated, as well as moved along a linear path to form any letter in the alphabet. Check out [Rob’s] build logs for the details on how he pulled it all together.

[Thanks Hugo via Engadget and Switched]

30 thoughts on “Illuminated moveable type

  1. That’s really cool as an art project or an engineering thesis, but it seems incredibly impractical for any real display.

    It would be cool to see how the word combinations change with the addition of each letter, like the words you can make with 4 letters, versus 5, then 6.

  2. I love how some of the tubes stutter and shiver, and I love how they light up before they begin to move into position. Very sci fi. Mad kudos.

    Some day, I want to build something this awesome.

  3. Damn, I wish the movie Moon had one of these as well as all the other cool stuff. Maybe not quite right for that movie.

    Seriously under-rated movie, very cool.

  4. it’s beautiful.

    it’s also arguably a Rube Goldberg machine, because what more mundane task is there than writing one word?

  5. I love the way it forms its letter, not just lighting up lights, but moving them, never seen somthing like that before, beautiful.

  6. I think this is a great display, practicle, no, but a great, artistic display, I could see one of these in the background at a Blue Man Group show.

    Perhaps as an art show, or an elegant location or such.

  7. I thought the same thing…the way the parts move into place after they light up makes for a weird, but familiar effect.

    It sort of reminds me of those pictures/shapes made from cowds of people. UK Peeps: The old TalkTalk adverts, nay?

    Cool. Did I spy a bulb smashing early on?

  8. Was anyone else disturbed by his choice of vocabulary? The displayed words seemed… odd to say the least. Amazing display tho

  9. I figured it would be more apparent, that in an art context, and just in general, any “four letter word” would be somewhat loaded, so the choice of vocabulary is probably to fit that.

    I have to agree with all the above, and add: I wish I had the kind of clarity of mind to have an idea and see it through so perfectly executed.

    And yea, this is a dangerous post that needs to be removed, anyone who doesn’t understand why they shouldn’t do this shouldn’t do this… (for future searchers, re: april-01)

  10. This is amazing, If this is Refined to be BIGGER bester Faster COLORS. this can be used to outfit any Music festival. If you thought about selling this as a product.

  11. Rob Seward here. Thanks for all the comments! I saw askjacob’s note and I felt like I had to chime in. I spent a week trying to eliminate the servo jitter. I was obsessed. I finally figured it could be done by wrapping the servo in tinfoil and grounding the tinfoil. However, when I started showing my prototype to friends everyone loved the jitter (go figure), so I left it in.

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