Persistence of vision (POV) displays use the limits of human motion perception to create the illusion of continuous images using fast-moving display components. Our initial project goal was to create a programmable 7×8 LED matrix that spins to create a 3D persistence of vision (POV) display. We wanted the display to include a handful of preset images defined by a user which could be enhanced with 3D visual effects such as rotation. Recognizing that the 3D goal was ambitious, we also outlined an intermediate goal of creating a 2D POV display with enhanced functionality and user interactivity. We first achieved our intermediate goal of creating a 1D array of 10 LEDs that spins to create a 2D POV display. We also created a graphical user interface (GUI) that allows the user to draw the image or text they want shown. This can be used to generate both static images and small-frame animations by controlling the speed of display rotation. For links to videos of what we built, check out the media page. Initially, memory limitations on the PIC microcontroller we were using presented a challenge to implementing the 3D display, but recently we were able to get the system set up. Some videos of the 2D system are below; some better quality videos are available here, but they take a while to load.

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