A friend of mine who teaches high school science commissioned me to make a Jeopardy style quiz game controller with a large timer display and buttons
for players. The best sort of timer I could think of was a large 7 segment display with 3 digits plus a colon. Since these things can cost quite a bit to buy, I decided to make one out of an array of LEDs. The complete project description is available on my website
This is nothing new - I have seem numerous designs of big segment displays that incorporate large arrays of parallel LEDs to serve as each segment, but using so many LEDs is such a waste! Not only do you have to use a lot of LEDs, it can take quite a bit of current to light up that many LEDs at a time.
For these reasons, I decided to come up with a way to diffuse the light from one or two LEDs over a large thin area to serve as each segment. This would reduce the need for so many LEDs and also reduce the total current consumption.
The reason the LEDs appear to flash in the video is because the camera has a faster capture rate than the human eye. The LEDs are flashing on and off - that is how the multiplexed control works, but the naked human eye cannot see it because the pulse is too fast - around 100Hz.
My final display uses 54 LEDs to form three 4" x 2.5" digits with a colon to separate the minutes and seconds. Each digit in multiplexed, so they share the control lines. The total current through each segment is 6mA, but because each digit is only on 1/3 of the time and each segment is comprised of two parallel LEDS, this equates to about 1mA per illuminated LED at any given moment. More current could certainly be used, but my LEDs are controlled by a low current sourcing register. If more current is provided, then display could be much larger than the one I created.