What is Globe?
Formed from a single ring of LEDs rotating 15 times a second, Globe is a spherical display of over 460,000 pixels that can be viewed from all angles.
With a Raspberry Pi at its heart, Globe is capable of displaying images, video, games or anything else you could put on a traditional monitor. Globe will ship with an easy to use web interface as well as Android and IOS apps to allow straight forward control over your content.
As a piece that draws the eye, Globe is perfect for artistic displays, as a platform for advertising or simply as a cool gadget.
Constructed from oiled wood veneer, toughened glass and powder coated steel, Globe is designed to complement its environment.
How it works (simple version)
Because of the persistence of vision effect, anything which comes into our vision remains there for about 1/10th to 1/15th of a second. It is this effect that allows us to write words with sparklers in the air, perform the "bendy pencil" trick and allowed CRT TVs and monitors to function.
Globe, like other persistence of vision displays utilises this effect, allowing images to be displayed without keeping the display hardware permanently in place.
In Globes' case the array is a circular disk with 240 RGB LEDs around the edge which is then spun about the Z axis. By changing the colour of each LED 1920 times every rotation, and rotating 15 times a second we can create a spherical display of 460,800 pixels.
By doing a bit of processing with the electronics in the middle we are able to display any content of our choosing. An HDMI source generates the image data, an FPGA then buffers each image and distributes it to the appropriate LED driver.
For the in depth explanation as to how Globe works head on over to the blog.
Globe can display virtually any content
Globe is not limited to only displaying planets, it can display pictures, video, games...anything that could be put on a traditional display. It will feature a Pi Compute module with Wifi capabilities which will output the video directly onto the display.
By simply using IOS & android apps, a web interface, casting, or remote desktop you will be able to display content at will.
Rewards & shipping
The exact specification of Globe may change over the course of the project but its approximate specifications are:
- Display diameter: 310mm
- Overall housing dimensions: 400x400x700mm
- Resolution: 1920x240 (minimum)
- Weight: 20kg
- Material: Steel, anodised aluminium, glass, wood veneer
- Power: 100 - 240V AC 50/60 Hz (cable provided)
Progress so far
So far a proof of concept prototype has been built, clearing a large number of the hurdles in bringing Globe to life. This includes the vast bulk of the firmware coding, the majority of the PCB design and general mechanical design.
While the prototyping work has been completed, there is a certain amount left to do to turn Globe into a commercial product. Mostly this involves making it easy to use and selecting more suitable components and design processes for manufacture.
Features to be added
- Embedded Pi Compute module & Wifi
- Slight increase in resolution towards the bottom (where the cable inputs currently are)
- IOS & Android apps
- Web control service
- Additional pre-built content
- Sound insulation
The major tasks left are:
- Designing and prototyping a new PCB (and more if needed)
- Redesigning mechanical housing for manufacture
- Commissioning app and software development
- Thorough testing of all parts
- Compliance testing
Because there is still a fair amount of work left to do I have tried to select a realistic timeline to avoid any disappointment.
- September - October : Kickstarter Campaign
- October - April: Contract software. Hardware development.
- May: Build and test second prototype.
- June - July: Third prototype (if required), safety and compliance testing
- July: Finalise all designs
- August - September: Submit designs for manufacture
- October: Receive manufactured Globes & package
- November 2018: Ship
Risks and challenges
As with any startup venture there are associated risks which will need to be managed. The three key areas of risk are identified below along with the appropriate mitigating measures.
1. Production times may slip: Each Globe is a fairly complex device consisting of multiple customised parts from different suppliers. Manufacturing delays for any of these parts may lead to delays in the assembly of the final units. To mitigate this potential risk I have selected reliable manufacturers for these bespoke components and have evaluated their reliability, turnaround and customer service during the creation of the prototype.
2. Demand could exceed our expectations: To meet the funding target I expect to be shipping about 80-100 units, however if demand exceeds this then I am prepared. Quotes and delivery estimates for significantly more than the minimum funding target have been obtained from our chosen suppliers to allow us to maintain our shipping target dates even if demand is much higher than expected.
3. There may be unforeseen delays in the development process: So far I have built a working prototype, identified the future development work that needs to be conducted and devised an appropriate work plan with a significant margin in the timeline to accommodate the delays that traditionally crop up.
- (30 days)