Archive for June, 2010


Preparing for the Detroit Maker Faire

Don and I are building for the upcoming Detroit Maker Faire (July 31 & Aug 1, 2010 at The Henry Ford, Dearborn, MI).  We went to the Ann Arbor Mini-Maker Faire a few weeks ago and really enjoyed the energy of the whole place.  Relaxing over lunch later, Don leans over and asks what we should build for the Detroit faire!  There was a lot of brainstorming and quite a list to do.  The first item on the list, but not the only thing we’ll be showing, is a 3D LED volumetric display.  YouTube has many 3D LED displays, but very few like this.  The key difference is the word “volumetric”.  Most of the displays work by taking a strip of LEDs and rotating them.  The effect is like writing on a ribbon wrapped around a ball.  It is a 2D display on a 3D surface and, while a work of great precision, it is unable to show any detail within the ball/3D object.  Our approach is to take a LED panel and rotate it.  Being a rotating plane, it creates slices through 3D objects and is able to show interior detail.  (“Detail” is a fuzzy word as the LED panel is low-res, but you get the point.)  We put a YouTube video of the early work with a handful of LEDs at Next steps are to add a hall-effect sensor so the board knows where it is, write some animation code, and solder on the remaining 600+ LEDs.