POV wheels for a longboard

If you don’t mind working with really small components this POV wheel project for a longboard will certainly attract some attention.

The name of the game here is small and cheap. Small because the wheels are only 72mm in diameter (about 2.8 inches). Cheap because [Ch00f] wants to produce and sell them locally. He went with an ATtiny24 microcontroller driving fifteen LEDs. Obviously this will present a problem as the uC uses a 14-pin SOIC package and that’s just not enough I/O to drive the LEDs individually. Add to that the issue of storing patterns to be displayed and you start to run out of program memory very quickly.

But obvious he pulled it off. The image above shows the wheel displaying the CT logo (for ch00ftech.com) and there are several other patterns shown off in the clip after the break. The LEDs are multiplexed, but the wheel spins fast enough that this turns out to be okay. The rotation is measured by an IR reflectance sensor aimed at the stationary axle. A CR2032 powers the device, with some counterweights added to keep the wheel balanced.

Our only concern is the fragility of the exposed electronics. But if you hit the right BOM price we guess you can just replace the board as needed.

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Laser-etched LED zeotrope looks like a circular monochrome screen

The still image of this animated display really doesn’t do it justice. But you can get an idea of how this really does look like an old monochrome display. It’s actually a zeotrope made from LEDs and etched acrylic. The LEDs blink at a rate that synchronizes with the spinning acrylic to produce an animated image.

You probably already know that a zeotrope uses moving physical models to trick the eye into seeing an animation. In this case the models are etched into a piece of acrylic so that their outline glows when the material is edge-lit. Twelve pie piece shaped panes were designed in Inkscape to look like a scene from the Linux game World War IV. A stepper motor spins the ring which allows for the perfect synchronization seen in the clip after the break.

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Build a POV Death Star, you will

Building a Persistence of Vision globe is pretty awesome, but overlaying a Death Star pattern on the display takes it to the next level of geekery. Like us, [Jason] has wanted to build one of these for a long time. His success pushes us one step closer to taking the plunge and we hope it will inspire you to give it a shot too.

As he mentions in the beginning of his write up, the mechanical bits of these displays are really where the problems lie. Specifically, you need to find a way to transfer power to the spinning display. In this case use went with some DC motor brushes. These are replacement parts through which he drilled a hole to accept the metal axles on top and bottom. We hadn’t seen this technique before, but since motor brush replacements are easy to find and only cost a few bucks we’d say it’s a great idea.

The 24 blue LEDs that make up the display are all on one side of the PCB. They’re driven by an ATmega328 running the Arduino bootloader. [Jason] uses an FTDI adapter to program the chip. Don’t miss the video embedded after the break.

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StarGate Eggbeater

[Jason] used a strip of 142 Adafruit LPD8806 Addressable RGB LEDs to create the StarGate Eggbeater persistence of vision display. The LED strips are controlled by an Arduino Mega, which is used to control the strip and provides 21 bit color control for each LED. The strip is housed into a ring-shaped tube which is mounted onto a rod and bearing to allow it to spin. A 1/4 HP motor is used to spin the ring at 250 RPM creating the POV effect.

One issue when controlling a spinning object is making electrical connections to a spinning object. The LPD8806 requires four connections: power, ground, clock, and data. To make the connections, [Jason] used a MOOG Slip Ring. This allows for the four connections to be made while the ring spins at 250 RPM.

Of course POV demos need videos, so check one out the “boss program” video after the break.

Via Adafruit

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Full-color video on a spinning POV display

Watching Big Buck Bunny on a spinning POV display is pretty impressive. Sure, the circular display area cuts off some of the picture, but otherwise it looks fantastic. This POV display is based on a Gumstix board. It runs embedded Linux which makes video playback rather easy. But translating each frame to the round display is another story.

The device is the result of a course project at Telecom ParisTech. [Félix], [Sylvain], and [Jérémy] used an FPGA to do the pixel mapping. This uses an encoder wheel (rather than a traditional hall effect sensor) to ascertain the blade’s position. The sensor that monitors the disc sends quadrature encoded pulses which result in 10-bit position data. The FPGA uses that data to calculate where each LED falls in its arc, then looks up the pixel color for that position. It’s not the largest POV display we’ve seen, but it certainly has the very best RGB resolution by far.

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RC plane made specifically for UAVs

We’ve seen our fair share of remote-controlled planes turned into UAVs and FPV platforms, but the Techpod is the first airplane we’ve seen specifically designed to be used as a camera-equipped robotic airplane.

The Techpod is the brainchild of [Wayne Garris]. He has been flying camera-equipped FPV airplanes for a while now, but recently realized the current offerings of remote control planes didn’t match his needs. [Wayne] decided to design his own plane specifically designed with a pan/tilt camera mount in the nose.

[Wayne]‘s prototype was designed with some very fancy aeronautical design software packages and milled out of foam. From the videos after the break, we can see the Techpod flies beautifully, but needs the Kickstarter community to bring his model to the masses.

The specs for the Techpod put it up there with other high-performances FPV and UAV models; with its 102 inch (2590 mm) wingspan and a pair of batteries wired in parallel, the Techpod can stay aloft transmitting video for up to one hour.

Video of the plane in action after the break.

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POV bike wheels with the MSP430

Being an intern a Texas Instruments isn’t all fun and games, but from [George], [Valerie], and [Ryan]‘s TI intern design project, it sure looks like it. They built a persistence of vision display for a bicycle using the ever popular MSP430 Launchpad board.

The team of interns created a POV display by combining the power of the TI Launchpad with a row of 32 RGB LEDs soldered onto a booster pack. Once the whole circuit is fastened securely to the bike wheel, a hall effect sensor mounted to the bike frame allows the MSP430 to detect how fast it is going. From there, it’s just a matter of flashing LEDs at the right time to create a stationary display inside a rotating wheel.

Although the display will theoretically work with just one Launchpad/Booster pack combo, the team decided to use three of these circuits, totaling 96 LEDs per wheel, to create a really nice RGB display. The video (available after the break) shows a little bit of flicker but this is an artifact of the camera. In real life, the POV bike wheel display is simply stunning.

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