Swiss artist and designer [Jürg Lehni] was commissioned to create an artwork called Four Transitions which has been installed in the HeK (House of electronics Arts) in Basel. This piece visually depicts the changes in technologies used by public information displays, such as those in airports and train stations. As the title of the installation suggests, four different technologies are represented:
- Flip-Dot, early 1960s, 15 each 7 x 7 modules arrayed into a 21 x 35 pixel panel
- LCD, 1970s and 1980s, two each 36 x 52 modules arrayed into 52 x 76 pixel panel
- LED, 2000s, six each 16 x 16 RGB modules arrayed into a 32 x 48 pixel panel
- TFT, current, one 24 inch module, 1200 x 1920 pixel panel
The final work is quite striking, but equally interesting is the summary of the the design and construction process that [Jürg] provides on Twitter. We hope he expands this into a future, more detailed writeup — if only to learn about reverse engineering the 20 year old LCD controller whose designer was in retirement. His tweets also gives us a tantalizing glimpse into the software, controllers, and interconnections used to drive all these displays. There is quite a lot of interesting engineering going on in the background, and we look forward to future documentation from [Jürg].
You may recognize [Jürg] as the creator of Hektor, a graffiti output device from 2002 which we’ve referenced over the years in Hackaday. Check out the short video below of the displays in operation, and be sure to unmute the volume so you can listen to the satisfying sound of 735 flip-dots changing state. [Jürg] also gives in interview about the project in the second video below. Thanks to [Niklas Roy] for sending in the tip about this most interesting exhibition.