Crayolascope Turns Flat Displays Into Volumetric Coolness

[Blair] sent in a project he’s been working on for a while. It’s called the Crayolascope, and it allows for the creation of an extremely low-fi volumetric display using a Crayola Glow book.

The Crayola Glow Book is a pretty neat toy composed of four clear plastic panels. Each of these four panels are illuminated from the side to reveal the image drawn with fluorescent ‘glow pens’. [Blair] had the idea to take several of these Glow Books and draw a rudimentary 3D animation by sequentially lighting one of the 12 plastic panels.

After tracing single frames from a rotating cube animation, the Crayolascope pages through the plastic panel-based 3D display with the help of an Arduino Mega. For each frame of animation, the Arduino illuminates a single display with edge-mount LEDs. Of course there’s a control panel to regulate how fast the frames are shown, along with the ability to scrub a frame and apply a fade effect.

[Blair] admits there are a few problems; there’s a lot of internal reflections in the array of clear plastic sheets, and frames near the end of an animation are really only observable in a very dark room. [Blair] hopes the next version of the Crayolascope will use thinner plastic panels to increase the depth of the animations – a solution that may just solve the decreasing brightness of ‘deeper’ panels.