A Look Behind The Canvas Of The “60 Billion Lights” Project

In May of this year, [Erich Styger] shows his project called “60 Billion Lights” off to the world.  Now he has published an update on the making of this impressive work of art. As a quick recap, “60 Billion Lights” is a canvas art piece, which has 60 dual shaft stepper motors integrated into it. Each stepper motor has forty 24-bit RGB LEDs, making for a total of 60 billion position and light combinations on the entire canvas.

With the dual shaft stepper motors, one can control the position of laser-cut acrylic rods inside each of the forty depressions that make up a unit. Each unit has its WS2812B LEDs positioned around the inside edge.

As the embedded video (after the break) shows, it can be used to create a wide variety of effects. The whole of it is driven by 15 controller boards that run FreeRTOS on an NXP LPC845 (Cortex-M0+), connected via RS-485.

In the ‘Making Of’ video (embedded after the break) and article, more details are shown of the individual components, including the dual shaft stepper motors, stepper motor PCBs, the LED ring PCBs, and countless images of the construction, painting and assembly.

If the original article gave one the impression that this was an easy project, it is this behind the scenes look that gives one a good impression of the full scale. From the countless PCBs, controller boards, wiring, programming to the assembly and testing. Not to mention the painting of the canvas itself, which is an original work.

17 thoughts on “A Look Behind The Canvas Of The “60 Billion Lights” Project

      1. No, but it’s the idiotic naming scheme he was commenting on. He didn’t say it’s not art. Just an ignorant name.

        Also, it may be art but that paint scheme makes it one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen. Of course, art being art, that may well be the “artist’s” intent.

        1. It’s obviously a syntactic deconstructionist play on a post-post-modern representation of the famous KOBE cosmic background image re-imagined as a Karmic background full of dark shadows and chaos, as a counterpoint to the lights that represent the hope of humanity finding it’s place in the universe both spiritually and physically.

    1. 24 positions (first shaft) * 3 (no, one or both ends of long shaft lit) * 24 positions (second shaft in 23 remaining positions or unlit=+1) * (2^24)-1 light colours * 60 displays = 1.7*10^12 or 1billion (long scale)/trillion(short) possible combinations.

  1. I think this project would have been better received without the distracting paint. One solid color would have been preferred, Use the individually addressable RGB’s to create the color you want.

    1. You don’t know his story, maybe he was all ready to give it a few good smooth coats, then his dog drank the paint and Jackson Pollacked it all up again.

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