A USB-Controlled POV Light Stick

Wanting to showcase their USB LED strip controller, the folks at Maniacal Labs built a POV LED stick this weekend. Yes, it’s pretty much the same as any other POV LED display you’ve seen; set a camera for a long exposure, wave the POV light stick around, and get a cool pixely image in mid-air. This build is a little different, though: it’s controlled over WiFi with a Raspberry Pi connected to a WiFi network.

The USB LED strip controller in question is the AllPixel, a small board that controls NeoPixels, WS2801, LDP8806, and a bunch of other LED strip controllers over USB. The Stick used for this project consisted of two meters of LPD8806 LEDs, giving 96 pixels of horizontal resolution. A big battery and Raspberry Pi rounds out the rest of the electronics.

Building a LED POV display isn’t that much different from building a LED matrix display; all you have to do is break up the image into individual columns and display them sequentially. To do this, the Maniacal Labs folks whipped up a LEDPOV class that does just that. To get the images, just open the shutter on a camera, wave the stick around, and if you get it right, you’ll have a great pixely image of nyan cat or the rainbow wrencher.

10 thoughts on “A USB-Controlled POV Light Stick

  1. This new web theme for Hackaday is a Hackaday FAIL.

    Text too big. Less information and fewer hacks per page.

    Everyone should realize that sometimes change is NOT for the better. See Vista, Windows ME, New Coke.

      1. I tend to view it windowed as I have to look at other windows simultaneously, the new layout has some sort of responsive design that looses the left margin for my display size making it very odd to read, hard against the left edge of the screen.
        Also I never can tell whether an image in the blog roll relates the article above or below as they’ve taken to putting the images above the title bar. Not great :s

    1. The biggest problem I have with it is the stickied news rotator thing at the top that, together with the huge title and section links, takes up 90% of the page (at 1080p). It also happens to look like a normal post (except for the green dots). I open HaD like 50 times a day, I usually just see if I recognize the first post to see if there is new content. When I’m opening HaD on reflex and I see the same posts in that spot, I find myself closing it right away and then much later noticing lots of articles that I failed to see as they were posted.

    2. I also dislike that fewer emails are including images, so to see if you want to see more of a hack you have to visit the site. I know it’s good for HaD to have page views, but I liked a quick image in the email to see if it tickled my interest.

      I actually click through less now, because I don’t go “[hack x] is not really my thing, but it does look interesting!” – instead I go “another [hack x] – meh – delete”.

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