voLumen - volumetric 3D display device

super mario as a hologram? Princess Leia? No problem for voLumen!
................virtual media brought to reality................

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voLumen is a volumetric three dimensional LED display device. Its purpose is to project volumetric animations onto eyes of a human spectator. It can mainly be used for advertisement and entertainment purposes. As a technology in this form has not been developed so far, it is quite an eye catcher and especially companies can gain people’s curiosity by advertising their products with voLumen.

no dark magic involvoed

By quickly rotating thousands of LEDs around a common axis using a precise microprocessor-control-logic magic becomes a simple principle. The persistance of vision of the human eye enables the impression of a solid volumetric object. Using a speacially developed PC-Conversion software, animations and contents can be easily generated from 3D-Modelling/CAD software with just the press of a button! voLumen can be connected to a PC via USB to transfer the data to the 16GBytes of internal high-speed solid-state memory, which allows enough space for 36 minutes of smooth volumetric colourized 3D playback!

  • 1.000.000 voxels

With this enormous number of voxels (volumetric pixels) voLumen can even display complex objects in 3D easily.

  • multicolour capabilites

sparkling starfields and crisp mario-style 3D worlds. all in colour!

  • volumetric animations

PACMAN becomes real? no this isn´t sorcery – just voLumen smoothly displaying volumetric animations!

  • easy content creation

using voLumen´s unique PC conversion software, 3D animations and contents can be converted from commonly used 3D-animation software like Cinema4D – in just a few mouseclicks!

designed to jaw-drop

voLumen has been designed with special care to silent operation and long duration playback. Every bolt and every wire has been chosen after months of research and evaluation.

The main constructive parts have been CNC milled out of solid aluminum and are assembeld precisely according to a detailed 3D-CAD design.

A shiny and brushed surface which is supposed to reduce noise and to cover the mechanics and a shiny and glossy arylic dome make voLumen pure eyecandy – blending into almost any environment makes voLumen flexible for almost any exhibition!

  • 34 × dsPIC33EP128MC506 16 BIT MPU used for the individual LED layers
  • 1 × 3m solid aluminium bar 100x20 used for the base construction
  • 34 × 4 Gbit parallel flash memory TSOP48 for storing the volumetric animations - lots of data
  • 1024 × RGB LED OSRAM as bright as possible with black body
  • 1 × acrylic dome 1000mm diameter very difficult to obtain, because of difficult shipping (ground cargo required)

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  • General technical description

    max.mali07/03/2014 at 15:04 0 comments

    The most import thing for being able to generate proper animations in multiple
    colours is that it is possible to control every single colour of the 1024 LEDs
    separately. This means that it is possible to turn on red and green (=yellow) on one
    RGB LED while on another LED only blue is turned onfor example.
    To achieve this, a lot of LED drivers, which basically are shift registers with some
    additional control logic so that only one resistor is needed to adjust the current for
    all LEDs on one driver, are needed.
    All 32 layers with the LEDs on them are rotated around a common axis with 20rps.
    The necessary brushless DC motor has got an internal control logic built into it and
    can be controlled over a couple of simple digital inputs whose function can be preprogrammed.
    One full rotation is separated into 1024 individual"refreshes" for all LEDs, where
    they are able to change their colours, so that 3D pictures or animations can be
    displayed. The refreshes occur when an optical forksensor passes by a tooth of a
    fix mounted crone, which has one tooth for each refresh. When a refresh occurs all
    LED drivers are filled with new pre calculated dataand once the shift registers are
    full the data is shifted out to the LEDs. Knowing which animation is supposed to be
    displayed, the data can be calculated and stored onan external flash memory
    before displaying it earlier.
    Because of the huge amount of data and LEDs a single microcontroller would not
    be fast enough to put out the new data for every refresh in time. Besides too many
    microcontroller pins would be needed to connect allof the electrical components.
    For this reason every single layer has its own microcontroller and its own flash
    memory. This way the data can be loaded from the flash and put into the LED
    drivers 32 times faster than with just one microcontroller and also the number of
    pins needed are no problem anymore. The practical thing about this solution is
    that the hardware layout design and the firmware are the same for all of the 32
    To save all the animation data in the different flash memories an additional
    microcontroller, which is the master of all the other (slave) microcontrollers on the
    layers, is needed. The master is connected to the slaves per an modified SPI bus
    with two additional bus wires. The addresses of theindividual layers are the only
    things which alter from layer to layer. However this is necessary so that the master
    controller is able to select each layer for data transfer individually. To make it
    possible to use the same hardware and firmware for all layers the same 5 I/O pins
    of the slave controllers are used to set the address. All of them are pulled to
    ground by default after production. The only thing that needs to be done to set the
    addresses is to connect the traces between the individual I/0 pins and V+
    differently for each layer (5 traces -> 32 possibilities). The firmware scans if the I/O
    pins are connected to V+ or not and sets a bit maskwhich represents the address
    according to the connections then.
    All of the animation data has to be sent to the master controller before it can be
    passed along to the slaves with the SPI bus. The data transmission between a PC,
    which already stores all of the necessary data, andthe master controller is
    achieved per USB.
    Actually one more additional microcontroller is needed because the motor doesn't
    rotate along with the LEDs. The motor is wired to the so called "base board", which
    is the only board which doesn't rotate, along with an LC display which is needed
    for control purposes. The LCD offers an easy to operate 4 button GUI where the
    different animations can be selected, paused and rotated and brightness can be
    adjusted. The data between the master controller (main board) and the base
    controller can't be transmitted per wires because the base board is fixed and the
    main board rotates. To make a communication betweenthese two possible one
    Bluetooth module is needed on each board. Because one module can only...

    Read more »

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Esteban wrote 01/12/2022 at 03:51 point

Hello! i wanted to ask, how was your experience with different RPMs for the POV effect? I've heard 300 rpm should be enough, I'm currently researching for my own display

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Nh4x4jeep wrote 05/09/2019 at 23:38 point

Nice job. 👍 Beautiful! Large scale with Ws2812's?  Just a thought😁

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Shranav Palakurthi wrote 05/15/2019 at 00:40 point

The only problem I could foresee with using WS2812s is that their PWM frequency is 400Hz, so I think it would cause some sort of flickering.

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Mis012 wrote 08/14/2014 at 18:36 point
how moch does it cost?

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paul wrote 07/31/2014 at 03:25 point
Absolutely phenomenal! Back when I first saw the videos of you building the prototype is when I became fascinated with the whole POV display thing and pushed me to learn as much as possible so I can one day build something just as beautiful. It is, as you desired, absolutely jaw dropping in my humble opinion!

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daveatfernie wrote 07/16/2014 at 07:59 point
Certainly an impressive piece of kit. Are you open sourcing any of it or is this just an advert to buy from your site?

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Adam Fabio wrote 07/15/2014 at 05:26 point
Awesome project - thanks for submitting voLumen to The Hackaday Prize! I'm just speechless - 34 PIC processors working together. Do the animations all need to be stored in the local micro's flash, or can voLumen display "live" video rendered from a GPU or other system?

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Stefan-Xp wrote 07/09/2014 at 21:24 point
What a awesome Project :-) Very impressive!
Are you going to sell such devices?
I'm not shure but I think it will be rather expensive :-/
Did you forget the LED Drivers at the BOM?

Best Regards / Viele Grüße, Stefan

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