What is Globe?
Formed from a single ring of LEDs rotating 15 times a second, Globe is a spherical display of over 491,000 pixels that can be viewed from all angles.
With a resolution of 1920x256 true colour pixel, a frame rate of 15Hz and a Raspberry Pi at its heart, Globe is capable of displaying images, video, games or anything else you could put on a traditional monitor.
As a piece that draws the eye, Globe is perfect for artistic displays, as a platform for advertising or simply as a cool gadget.
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 uses a circular disk with 256 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 491,520 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.
How can it be controlled and what can it be used for?
Globe will come with an Android and IOS app along with a straightforward web interface. You can then upload your own media or select from a range of prebuilt content to display; simply select the desired content and add it to the sequence.
Globe’s pre-built content will allow you to display solar bodies such as Mars, Jupiter or even Ganymede, with their real time day & night cycles.
It will also be possible to overlay a range of meteorological and environmental data onto the earth, such as cloud cover, wind speed, air pressure, temperature, lightning strikes and earthquakes, as well as human influences like air and marine traffic, national borders, rocket launches and satellite positions.
As a particularly eye catching display coupled with the fact that it can be seen from all angles, Globe is perfect for advertising and artistic displays; by placing it in the center of a room you can be sure it will draw everyone’s gaze.
Rewards & shipping
The exact specification of Globe may change slightly over the course of the project but its approximate specifications are:
- Display diameter: 310mm
- Overall housing dimensions: 400x400x700mm
- Resolution: 1920x256
- Weight: 15kg
- Housing material: Anodised aluminium, wood veneer (multiple options)
- Display case: Perspex
- Power: 100 - 240V AC 50/60 Hz (cable provided)
The power supply will be set to correct voltage for the shipping destination. If you would like it to be set otherwise please add a note to your order.
Progress so far and work remaining
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.
The next revision of the PCB design has been completed and is ready to be submitted for manufacture.
- October - November: Kickstarter Campaign
- November - March: Contract software development. Hardware development.
- March - April: Build pre-production prototype and finalise designs
- April: Order all components
- May: Assemble all Globes
- June: Quality control and safety testing
- July: 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 my expectations: Although the first Kickstarter campaign has given me a pretty good idea of the demand, things may be different the second time around. 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 reasonable margin in the timeline to accommodate the delays that traditionally crop up.
- (30 days)