I Am the Midnight Message Board What Messages at Midnight

Photoluminescent stars on your bedroom wall or ceiling are pretty cool, though the stationary shapes can become boring. [Adi] felt this way, too. While doodling with a bright white light on some glow in the dark vinyl, it occurred to him that this could make for an interesting display. He set about making GLO, the midnight message board and RSS display.

[Adi]‘s light writer uses 12 UV LEDs on a linear axis powered by a stepper motor to write RSS headlines, Twitter trends, or custom text on his wall. He finds the slow fade of the text very soothing to fall asleep by, and it’s easy to see why. The LED array imprints a section of a character consisting of a 6×5 bit pattern. The 12 LEDs are split into two groups, so it can write two lines at 45-50 characters each. [Adi] designed his own pixel font for this project, and advises that only upper case letter forms be used.

[Adi]‘s write-up is quite admirable and comprehensive. In the circuit build section, he advises that the LEDs must be very close to the vinyl for optimum results, but that they should protrude farther than the shift registers so the chips don’t rub the vinyl. Of course you could opt for more intense light sources, like laser. See it in action after the break.

Comments

  1. Jongscx says:

    …OMG, paint the entire ceiling in glow paint and use a laser-projector to write messages and draw images.

  2. franklyn says:

    Are UV leds harmful at all ?

    • fartface says:

      Yes. Step on the dang things leads up in the night and they will stab you something fierce.

    • Nova says:

      If you get one bright enough and it’s a spectrum your eyes don’t register as a light source. Then yes, it can be if you decide to stare at it like the sun, because your pupils fail to adjust properly to protect your eyes. Same with powerful IR LEDs.

  3. Mystick says:

    Was that a Darkwing Duck or a Mad Max reference?

  4. fartface says:

    Less noisy version and doesn’t need phosphor.

  5. Bigdeal says:

    I would have assumed that a loop made of reactive paper would pass in front of the fixed LED’s… would have made a better marquee since there would be no dead time, and the LED’s head wouldn’t have to block part of the letters while it goes back to the beginning. Of course, there is still some noise involved, but i suspect that it would be constant and bearable while falling asleep, as opposed to this robot going back to the origin point. Very nice nonetheless!

  6. Hirudinea says:

    Have it type “Shall we play a game?” Anyway for V2 he should use a mirror and laser, for this one he should put a small box around the unit to keep the glow in.

  7. Jorge says:

    Does somebody know where to buy this kind of paint? Is it possible to find it as a kind of coat (no color) so I can create a “uv reactive” wall without ruining the current wall paint? :)

  8. Thinkerer says:

    This has a mesmerizing quality to it – good for the back of a bar or just a quiet corner if you could get it to read a script of poetry or pity quotations..

    Krylon makes glow in the dark paint, but I think you’ll get better thickness (and therefore brighter/longer-lasting “prints” ) with something like the sheet included in a Crayola “Light Sketcher” toy.

    It would be interesting to have a low power UV laser raster scan this so the image just comes up out of nowhere…

    I think I’ve just outed myself as a total glow-in-the-dark nerd.

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