Silent Orchestra POV aka "Death Ring"

a wicked large interactive POV display for festivals and stuff

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The Silent Orchestra POV is an interactive 5' in diameter aluminum ring spun by a 3HP motor.
This project was initially designed as an art installation for our local regional Burning Man decompression: Youtopia!
This project has occupied my thoughts and evenings for well over a year.

Speed / RPM is managed by a hall effect sensor and an arduino powering a kelley controller:
Hall Effect Sensor -> Control Logic -> PWM -> LoPass R/C Filter -> 0-5v -> Kelly Controller

Physical position is determined by an MPU-6050 gyroscope on an Arduino and pushed out to the Pixel Pusher via Processing over WiFi.
MPU-6050 -> Position Logic -> Attitude -> Processing Image Mapping -> Leap Motion / Kinect interaction -> UDP -> Pixel Pusher

Power for the lighting is provided through the bottom by a MeanWell PSU at 5v/60A over a Mercotec Slip Ring
PSU -&

The plan was to make a large interactive POV display for music events ( read Burning Man).

We went through multiple revisions and countless hours hacking, breaking, rebuilding, etc.

A lot of the challenges arose from the nearly impossible:

  • getting high RPMS without the ring distorting
  • network lag!!
  • syncing ring position with Processing sketch
  • interesting interactivity via sensors (Leap Motion, Kinect)
  • hacking without losing appendages

We have found solutions for all of these. But it would not be impossible without a team:

  • Phil Bremer aka Brems - admin, project management, co-designer
  • Brandon Smith aka Sproutworks - Processing code
  • Mark Liu - CAD Drivetrain Engineer
  • Tyler McGahee aka Hollywood - CAD sensor modelling, co-engineer

You can see it on the playa @ the Buddha Lounge this year at Burning Man 2014.


New ABS/Aluminum spindle for my new brushless DC drive for that crazy POV project. Gotta make some drive electronics next!

JPEG Image - 2.12 MB - 09/15/2017 at 17:55



New ABS/Aluminum spindle for my new brushless DC drive for that crazy POV project. Gotta make some drive electronics next!

JPEG Image - 2.13 MB - 09/15/2017 at 17:55



New test mount is rocking. Control electronics are next!!

quicktime - 8.97 MB - 09/15/2017 at 17:54



New test mount is rocking. Control electronics are next!!

JPEG Image - 1.42 MB - 09/15/2017 at 17:54


View all 7 components

  • It is alive!

    boolean09/27/2017 at 18:59 3 comments


    Rewiring the stator was a success.

    Now more speed/power!

  • Maching some new parts for the BLDC

    boolean07/20/2017 at 23:21 0 comments

    tsMilling of the BLDC motor plate:

    Milling the new driveshaft:

  • Going BLDC!

    boolean06/26/2017 at 23:09 0 comments

    I found a Brushless Washer motor on Ebay, and am going to use this for the drivetrain.

    Brushed had too many problems at higher RPMs / prolonged usage.

    Stay tuned!

  • MkV: The future

    boolean08/21/2014 at 17:47 1 comment

    This is the current version in progress. It will include improved interactivity, as well as better position sensing via the gyroscope.

  • It's Alive!!

    boolean08/21/2014 at 17:44 0 comments

  • ​MkIII: Aluminum Ring

    boolean08/21/2014 at 17:44 0 comments

    A whole new design with drivetrain was drawn up in Solidworks and created at Makerplace and FablabSD (it's current home).

    This new version adds:

    a lightweight aircraft grade aluminum ring

    CNC machined drive train

    3HP AmpFlow brushed motor

    Kelley controller with 0-5v sense for power

    2x750 watt drive PSUs ( from robotics)

    RPM control via Arduino, hall effect sensors and an R/C pass 0-5 Speed controller signal

    physical positioning via a MPU-6050 ( for low RPM POV)

    serial bluetooth position sending to processing

    Drivetrain with Idler installed

    Plasma'ed piece on ring assembly

    Welder with the finished Al ring!

    Rotating Electronics

    Communications Diagram

    Electronics Schematics

  • ​MkII: Wooden "Art" Ring

    boolean08/21/2014 at 17:43 0 comments

    We needed something a little stronger, so we created a CNC version of the ring with intersecting parts, wrapped in a custom aluminum band.

    This was the version we shipped out to Youtopia!. Our ring was 5x as heavy and burnt out our drive mechanism (drill). Efforts were made on-site to hack a brushless drill to power the contraption, but fell short. Festival participants could spin the wheel manually as well as interact with the colors via the Leap Motion.

    This iteration utilized a drill potentiometer for speed control, it was mostly either on or off.

  • ​MkI: PVC Ring

    boolean08/21/2014 at 17:42 0 comments

    We started off with just a PVC ring powered by an old drill. The pixel pusher network, slip-ring and interactive layers in processing were created during this stage.

    Crucial piece: the high RPM slip ring

    Here is the finished prototype taken slightly before the core snapped.

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