WhirlyGIG


Posted on Feb 6, 2014

This project uses the similar technique to these products, however it can write a continuous stream of text using a high speed rotor and a strip of LEDs. The word WhirlyGig is derived from the word whirl meaning to spin, and the acronym GIG which stands for Graphical Information Gyro. The WhirlyGIG is an electronic display created using just 8 LEDs.


WhirlyGIG
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These LEDs move at a relatively high speed on the end of a rotor, and flash specific patterns at precise time intervals. To the viewer, it has the appearance of a curved LED matrix sign with scrolling text. The sign has a full 360 degrees viewing angle, but there is a point on the sign where new text appears, and old text disappears. The sign message is fully programmable since it makes use of a PIC16F84 micro-controller. The original program design allowed a 256 character message to be Hard-Coded into the PIC`s program memory. Later versions allow the display to continually communicate with a computer via a simplex serial port link. This allows a message of any length to be displayed. When an intense light source is swept through the air, glowing trails can sometimes be seen. The effect of the air appearing to remain glowing after the light source has moved is an optical illusion. This effect relies on the `Persistence of Vision` of the viewer`s retina (the photosensitive part of the eye). In general, the human eye has an exceptionally quick reaction time in detecting dark to light transients, however for light to dark transients it is much slower. This causes a temporal memory effect which can produce interesting effects especially with bright light sources in dark conditions. A common example of this is the ability to draw shapes with sparklers on bonfire night. The WhirlyGIG display comprises of a strip of 8 ultra...




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