The MF/V (MF/5) from Main Light

Marcel over at The Captain’s Blog (the Gearsource blog) posted an article about the Main Light MF/V LED panel moving head back in the first third of June.  For some reason I’m just now reading it – moving across the coutry does a number on your Firefox tabs, doesn’t it?

Main Light’s LED panel head looks pretty cool – seems to have fast pan and tilt, reasonable output, and decent video processing.  Check out this video:

Main Light’s page on MF/V is here – and thanks, Marcel!



DIY LED Table Ikea Hack

An Ikea hack, now with arduino!

I read about this hack on the Apartment Therapy Unplugged website – it’s an Ikea Granas table with 81 ShiftBrite RGB LED modules under the glass in a matrix.  An arduino chip controls the LEDs and outputs a hue-saturation-value and RGB sine wave.  The project as a whole costs about $350, but what a project!

Here’s the original article – the parts links are above.

RGB LED table

RGB LED table

ikea granas


Chroma-Q’s Color Web and The Killers

Did anyone see the Color Web product at LDI? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe it was the HUGE LED NET that was on that wall at AC Lighting‘s booth.  The product was pretty cool, and the size was just mesmerizing.  For some reason I remember some guy remarking about the product to his buddy – “I’m gonna wrap my whole house in that instead of Christmas lights!”

The product is out with The Killers right now – lighting designer Steven Douglas has 265 square meters of Color Web 125 LED panels rocking the “Day and Age 2009” tour, and the work is good stuff.  Artistic License makes the Color Web, and AC Lighting and AC ET has exclusive rights on the product.  Steven is out with gear from Christie Lights UK.  Check out a video:

AC Lighting released a press release for the product and tour – from that article:

Tour LD Steven Douglas was looking for a semi-transparent video surface that would enhance the band’s performance rather than detract from it. In addition, he needed something that would take up very little truck space and could be curved into different shapes, due to the design of the stage truss configuration. Steven considered several popular LED video surface solutions before selecting the Color Web system, which he had used to great effect on a previous tour.

The 265 square metres of Color Web 125mm cell pitch LED panels are configured as a 28 metre wide by 18 metre high curved back wall with three 5 metre circles truss-mounted above the stage. In addition, the LED webbing covers the band’s on-stage backline. Steven chose a mixture of custom video content designed for the tour, as well as stock footage and photos taken by himself. In addition, Steven is using the Color Web backdrop in solid colours as a lighting tool.

Steven seems to likes them too:

Summarising his experience using the LED display surface, LD Steven Douglas commented: “The Color Web ticked all the boxes for what I needed for this particular tour. As a low-res product it is a great option. For the people in the front of the stage it is just a bunch of coloured dots at this distance, so doesn’t detract from the band’s performance. However, as you get further away you start to see the images take shape, so at a distance it acts as an enhancement…

Nice work, Steven!

color web

Jason Eppink’s Pixelator – Turning Ads into Art

Vicki DaSilva turned me on to Jason Eppink’s ongoing unauthorized work, Pixelator.  I learned a few things from researching this project, as I often do – for one, NYC’s Metro Transit Authority is paying an estimated $274,000 per screen (on about 80 screens) across the city, located above subway entrances.  These screens blast ads and other media conglomerate events.  The cost of these billboard screens obviously decreases the amount of art that appears in these spaces – Jason’s project gives instructions on how to create a mock-screen-thing that turns these billboards into a series of 45 blinking, color shifting pixels.  You gotta check this out:

If you live in NYC or have visited NYC and seen one of these, post in the comments!  Check out Jason’s Pixellator site, too.

Philips is Shipping LumiBlade Samples


Philips now has a section of their website to order samples of the LumiBlade OLED line – all kinds of shapes, a small selection of colors, all with a power supply. This is a very, very cool product, as many of Philips’ products happen to be, and I like it.

I will say this, and it’s going to come across as negative – but I hope you have better luck getting through to them than I did.  I sent four emails and left two phone calls about LumiBlade, and didn’t get as much as a “go stick it up your rear, lighting blogger.”  Funny enough, I had the possibility for a very, very large lamp supply for a project; I called Philips one afternoon, and after being sent around to six different phone numbers and having about seven people tell me they couldn’t help get us to the right department, I decided that maybe Philips wasn’t the right company for my (and my client’s) needs.  It’s too bad – I think the Master LED is pretty great.

Okay, frustrated writer rant over.  Check out these pretty great LumiBlade OLED designs:






LCD Price Fixing Schemes – WTH?! The LCD Cartel

I just learned about these a day or so ago – how I missed them is beyond me, as I am always in a little bit of shock for some reason every time I discover some corporate criminality.  Hitachi just pleaded guilty to a one-count felony charge in a price fixing scheme dealing with LCD displays.

What?!  I keep trying to count the number of LCD devices in my house.  Then I keep trying to remember how much I paid for each one.  From an article at Wired’s Gadget Lab:

The Japanese company has agreed to pay a fine of Justice Department. According to court reports, Hitachi has admitted its involvement in fixing the prices of LCDs sold to Dell that were later used in monitors and laptops from 2001 to 2004.

The price fix basically involved secret meetings between top executives of companies and them agreeing to set a certain price to sell the LCDs to Dell, and thereby eliminating the natural forces of the open market.

A few months ago, Sharp, LG and Chunghwa of Taiwan also plead guilty to the same conspiracy of price-fixing LCDs in a massive anti-trust settlement. The price-fixing for those companies happened between 2001 and 2006 and also involved the selling of LCD panels to Motorola (for its Razr phones), and Apple (for the iPod).

Hitachi is paying $35 million dollars for their role in this crazy BS scheme to fix LCD display prices.  This makes me just a little ill in the pit of my stomach.  I also learned that LG, Sharp, and a company called Chunghwa Picture Tubes also all plead guilty to the same scheme that took place between 2001 and 2006.  Those companies are paying out $585 million in total – $400 million for LG, $120 million for Sharp, and $65 million for the Taiwan company Chunghwa Picture Tubes.

Ugh.  I bought a Razr phone, a Dell monitor, and an iPod during that time.

The Department of Justice had a press release about the charges, and what the companies did:

LG and Chunghwa are charged with carrying out the conspiracy by:

  • Participating in meetings, conversations, and communications in Taiwan, Korea and the United States to discuss the prices of TFT-LCD panels;
  • Agreeing during those meetings, conversations and communications to charge prices of TFT-LCD panels at certain pre-determined levels;
  • Issuing price quotations in accordance with the agreements reached; and
  • Exchanging information on sales of TFT-LCD panels, for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing adherence to the agreed-upon prices.

Sharp is charged with participating in three separate conspiracies, to fix the price of TFT-LCD panels sold to Dell, Motorola and Apple by:

  • Participating in bilateral meetings, conversations, and communications in Japan and the United States to discuss the prices of TFT-LCD panels to be sold to Dell, Apple and Motorola;
  • Agreeing during those bilateral meetings, conversations and communications to charge prices of TFT-LCD panels at certain pre-determined levels to Dell, Apple and Motorola;
  • Issuing price quotations in accordance with the agreements reached; and
  • Exchanging information on sales of TFT-LCD panels to be sold to Dell, Apple and Motorola, for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing adherence to the agreed-upon prices.

Hmm. I’m going to go take some Pepto now.

Thanks DOJ, Biz Insider, and Wired!

Barco Releases the First True Black Outdoor LED Screen


Barco’s always busy!

They’re released theT-16BK series outdoor true-black LED screen – a contrast level of 7000:1, quickly serviceable, at 6000 nits brightness.  They’ve also released the B-16, which is the mobile display version.

From the press release:

Kuurne, Belgium, 26 February 2009. Barco, a global leader in LED display solutions, is proud to present its new range of first true black outdoor LED displays, the T-16BK series. With this introduction Barco expands its existing range of black indoor LED with a range of black outdoor LED, available for the live events and fixed installations market.

Building upon its field-proven true black indoor LED range, Barco introduces the T-16BK series, the blackest 16mm outdoor displays on the market. They deliver high-resolution full color images with extreme brightness levels.

The key feature that makes the T-16BK really unique is a specially designed black lamp LED using new black epoxy and die technologies. This black lamp LED offers vastly improved contrast levels (7,000:1), unseen for any 16mm LED display on the market today. Thanks to a low weight cabinet with integrated ladder, clickable shaders, front and back access, the T-16BK series are easy and quick to service, hereby maximizing the return on investment for owners.

“After the success of our black indoor LED displays, we are pleased to present our customers with a full black outdoor LED display range,” says Carl Rijsbrack, VP product management. “Black LED displays offer deeper and richer image colors, improving the overall quality of the screen in all ambient environments. With a brightness of 6000 nits the T-16 BK can perform even in bright sunlight: so being black does not mean not being bright”.

Barco’s newest mobile LED display, the B-16, is created with these new T-16BK tiles, making it the first black mobile LED display on the market. The B-16 provides a 14 m² screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio and is ready to cast all possible live HD content. The LED display comes in a fully equipped trailer with hydraulic mast and free rotation, which makes it possible for customers to show their message at any time and place, with a minimal set-up time.

Barco demonstrated the new black outdoor LED display range to the European and Asian customers for the first time during Barco’s 10th annual Rental Partner Meeting that took place 17 until 20 February in the Belgian headquarters. Over 200 customers attended the launch. US customers will get a chance to learn about Barco’s new products at the North American Rental Partner Meeting in Copper Mountains from 9 until 12 March.


Impress: The Flexible Display


The above video is of the Impress flexible touch screen device, created by the firm Dis.Play – one of the greatest things about this project is its use of Arduino – the physical computing chip.  From the Dis.Play site on Impress:

Impress is the deliverance of the touch screen from its technical stiffness, coldness and rigidity. It breaks the distance in the relationship of human and technology, because it is not any longer the user which is subjected to technology, but in this case the display itself has to cave in to the human. Impress is a chance of approach of user and technology, above all, from technology.

It is a matter of a flexible display consisting of foam and force sensors which is deformable and feels pleasantly soft. Impress works with the parameters position and time like other touch screens as well, but in addition to that, it reacts, above all, on the intensity of pressure.

The user can merge in and collaborate with technology more than ever. He can squeeze out information and fly through rooms, he can form three-dimensional and put objects in motion by deforming the surface. Four short applications allow an insight into an absolutely new world of deeply sensitive and intuitive interaction possibilities.

An excellent concept – all of the functionality of a touch screen with the added parameter of depth.





Thanks, WhereIsMyFuture, PSFK and Vimeo!

Barco Releases “Transformable” LEDs


Barco has released a new device – transformable LED modules.  They just released a press release, listed below:

Kuurne, Belgium, 24 February 2009. Barco, a global leader in LED display solutions, takes creativity to the next level with the introduction of its transformable LED. Thanks to this brand new concept designers are no longer limited to traditional LED displays but can instead create any shape they dream of.

Barco takes creative LED to a complete new level with the introduction of transformable LED, a unique freeform LED concept that will amaze spectators all over the world. Barco’s transformable LED family consists of individual, compact, high quality LED pixel modules that can be used as building blocks to sculpt any design possible.

The pixel modules can be combined with a wide variety of specifically designed carriers (mechanical structures) into any shape customers desire. And even more, thanks to 16 bit per color processing, an ultra high refresh rate and Barco’s color calibration, the pixel modules perform similar to high quality LED video displays. Customers can give their audience the ultimate creative display without compromising on the image quality.

“Transformable LED is an exciting new product, unseen in the market,” comments Carl Rijsbrack, VP product management. “The pixel modules are designed to remain a stable basic component. However, the structures can be frequently transformed into new shapes, trends and needs providing the best possible return on investment for our customers. We will keep updating and expanding our carrier portfolio to offer our customers unlimited creativity options, now and in the future.”

Barco demonstrated the transformable LED family to its European and Asian customers for the first time during Barco’s 10th annual Rental Partner Meeting, that took place 17 until 20 February in the Belgian headquarters Over 200 customers attended the launch. US customers will get a chance to learn about Barco’s new products at the North American Rental Partner Meeting event in Copper Mountains, from March 9 until 12.


HP’s Flexible Screen – “Virtually Indestructible”

Before HP decides to call something “virtually indestructible,” they should send it out on a rock and roll tour first.

HP, in conjunction with Arizona State University’s Flexible Display Center just announced a prototype of a computer screen – a very, very light computer screen – that’s supposed to just rock the display market.  This stuff is manufactured similarly to the way that “thin film” photovoltaics are manufactured – a roll-to-roll process where the screens are pretty much printed onto “virtually indestructible” plastic sheets.  They’re cheaper and more efficient than conventional screens according to Inhabitat, and they use up to 90% less material to produce.

From the Inhabitat article – regarding the technology that’s being implemented in the creation of these screens:

ASU’s Flexible Display Center has been working on flexible display technology in partnership with corporations as well as the US Army. HP likewise has been an innovator in many electronic technologies, including the technology that makes this new prototype possible – Self-Aligned Imprint Lithography (SAIL), which was invented at HP Labs. As HP explains, “SAIL technology enables the fabrication of thin film transistor arrays on a flexible plastic material in a low-cost, roll-to-roll manufacturing process. This allows for more cost-effective continuous production, rather than batch sheet-to-sheet production.”