Persistence of vision helicopter blades with RGB LEDs

A user named [BOcnc] on the rcgroups forums just posted his RGB POV helicopter blades.

The two blades are attached to the heli just as any other whirlygig. The electronics, though, are mounted underneath the blade with a battery pack. We covered a build last year that demonstrated weight added to a spinning blade won’t tear everything apart, but that build used only blue LEDs. This build is full color and makes us feel like we’re living in a cyberpunk future populated by Recognizers and Daft Punk.

The images are stored on an SD card that receives data from a USB port. The microcontroller is a PIC32, and from what we can assume from the schematics, the RPM of the blades is measured by an on-board hall effect sensor (don’t quote us on that, though). There’s no hope of a commercial release from [BOcnc], though. He can’t find anyone to manufacture the blades, and the entire build was too expensive. It sure looks pretty though, so check out the video of it after the break.


  1. Olivier says:

    Very impressive, looks great !

  2. Squintz says:

    Looks great. I’m slightly more impressed that they were able to fly it in that low lighting.

  3. that1guy says:

    Wowza, this looks incredible, even in screenshots.

  4. Whatnot says:

    Pretty nice I think, although I don’t want all choppers to incorporate it myself, it’s nice when used sparingly.
    (the video sort of ruins it with the damn shaking though, but that’s another matter.)

  5. abobymouse says:

    Really cool. But, uh,as constructively as I can: How often are you *over* a helicopter’s blades?

    The builder could consider a system to fit under the blades of full size helicopters, that display a logo. That’s a bit more challenging because as well as rotor speed you also have the body f the copter in the way.

    • tooth says:

      it is actual mounted under the blades. you can see the image on top and underneath of the blades. it would be cool to see it on a full sized copter.

      the bat sign is sweet!!! i almost busted out my bat man cape (a black sheet off my bed) and started to fight crime.

      • abobymouse says:

        In that case – it’s awesome and the builder should move to a full scale prototype.

        That’s going to be a lot trickier with FAA etc approval, but still, builder could make a fortune.

  6. Tom the Brat says:

    Wow. That takes POV to a whole new level! (Pun intended)

  7. bADitCH says:


  8. KiDD says:

    Need one of these for BurningMan!!

  9. Spork says:

    Wow that is cool.
    RGB POV is one thing, but on a heli is even better.

    I’m impressed that it:
    -Doesn’t add too much weight.
    -Doesn’t throw the heli off balance.

    Looks great in the video/picture, but I’d love to see it in person.

  10. James says:

    Truely amazing. Love the fact that it can do different images on the top and bottom at the same time.

  11. booga says:

    This is very cool, just imagine this incorporated on real choppers.
    A giant hello kitty in the sky nice!
    But more practical a police chopper with messages for the crooks they are chasing, ‘halt!’ or even a beacon to tell ground units where they are.

  12. aztraph says:

    I’d love to see an acrobatic quad copter version

  13. Adam says:

    Having been to Berlin, I love that they used the stop/go Ampelmann street lights! Amazing build.

  14. robomonkey says:

    How about putting this on a prop plane?

  15. Galane says:

    The next Batman movie must have a Batcopter with this!

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