Lighting Up The Night Sky With A Flying POV Display

We’ve seen loads of persistence of vision displays before, but this sky-writing POV display seems as though it may be a first. And we have to agree with its creators that it’s pretty cool.

The idea man on this was [Ivan Miranda], who conceived of a flying POV as a twist on his robotic dot-matrix beach printer. But without any experience in RC flight, he turned to fellow YouTuber [Tom Stanton], whose recent aerial builds include this air-powered plane, for a collaboration. [Ivan]’s original concept was a long strip of Neopixels that would be attached to the underside of a wide-wingspread plane. WIthout much regard for the payload limits of most RC planes, he came up with a working display that was 3 meters long. His video below shows it in use in his shop, with some pretty impressive long exposure images.

[Tom]’s part was to make the POV display flyable. He cut the length down to 2 meters and trimmed the weight enough to mount it to a quadcopter. Ungainly as the machine was, he was able to master its control enough to start painting pictures across the twilight sky. The images at the end of his video are actually stunning – we’re especially fond of Thunderbird 2, which takes us back to our childhood.

We’re not sure what the practical uses of this are, but that’s hardly the point. It’s enough that it’s an interesting project from an unlikely duo.

14 thoughts on “Lighting Up The Night Sky With A Flying POV Display

    1. I was wondering that too, but I think that one issue is that you’d need to keep your gaze stationary while watching it. If you track it with your eyes, you’ll just see the single line.

      You’d really want a way to continuously refresh the image in the same area. If you built two of these, then flew continuously in circles, that would do it (drawing a cylinder). Or perhaps make a very large helicopter, and draw in planar circles. But I suppose there’d be issues with tip speed beyond a certain size. But you could add more blades…

  1. Isn’t POV where you see the whole image, with just your eyes. This is long exposure, light painting. Wouldn’t Photoshop, or some video after effect work just as well? But then again, it’s not always the results, sometimes it’s just the idea, and the build, just to see how it actually works out.

    1. Yeah, calling it POV is kind of deceptive imo. I was picturing some kind of quadcopter or something using addressable LEDs on four oversized props or something. That would be pretty neat, right? The slip rings might be pricey.

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