Picture of Dance Messenger
Fun persistence of vision toy. Attach it to your shoe and write messages or patterns while you walk, run or dance!

This article is brought to you by MonkeyLectric and the Monkey Light bike light

Step 1: The circuit board

Picture of The circuit board
I used a fairly generic circuit board I had lying around for this project. The circuit is really simple though, just an Atmel AVR microcontroller, 10 LED's, a programming header and a few resistors and capacitors. maybe a button if you want to be able to turn it off. The board I used is mostly surface mount components, but all the parts are available in thru-hole form so you could easily build this up on a proto-board.

I've attached below the Eagle CAD (http://www.cadsoft.de/) files for the circuit board, the C source code for the microcontroller, and the Gerber files of the circuit board to get it manufactured. Eagle CAD is free for small-size boards like this one.

Parts used:
Atmel mega8L microcontroller - digikey ATMEGA8L-8AC-ND
6-pin .1" spacing pid header - digikey WM6806-ND
1206-size surface mount LED's in color of your choice - digikey 160-1406-1-ND, 160-1404-1-ND, 160-1402-1-ND
150 ohm resistor array: digikey EXB-V8V150JV
10uF 0805 size capacitor: digikey 587-1299-1-ND
switch: digikey CKN4081CT-ND
lithium-ion battery: from batteriesamerica.com (http://www.batteriesamerica.com/newpage8.htm)
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Matt4281 year ago

corwell? That's an odd name

nox14682 years ago
here's an idea: atach it to a glove and make it say "POW" so when you punch it makes comic-book effects.
elabz2 years ago
Built a similar project recently and was confronted with the same issue - how do you make sure the message is written only on the way forward. Meaning, the leg's movement is reciprocal, so at least half of the time the display should be off else it will write the message flipped (mirrored) horizontally.

In my case the reciprocal POV display is supposed to be help by hand, so perhaps it might be a bit easier to control the location, but for a  shoe-located device you might also want to investigate using ball switch as a crude (but very cheap!) acceleration sensor which would trip an interrupt when the leg has reached the back position and is just about to move forward - that' when you'd show the message and it's guaranteed no to show mirrored. 

Another good thing about ball switches (a.k.a. shake switches) is that they make it very easy to turn the MCU off (sleep) when there's no movement - good for battery life and for not disturbing the people around if you're just, say, sitting in a restaurant with your display on.  My POV display project also has Atmel code, so it should be easily adaptable, so check it out!
shams5 years ago
what is the subsitute of this AVR ? I'am asking u about any through the hole chip.....this one is surface mount....I cant use it.... 
robot1398 shams4 years ago
this same AVR is present in a whole chip form buy it from here
agent5 years ago
Think this would work on roller skates? Would I be going fast enough for people to see the effect?
zeibak5 years ago
this one is the best but it seem that it's too hard for me lol
 For a really low budget and a camera if you take a picture every minute or so then string them together it should make a nice time lapse 
sebas1255 years ago
 How it works?? i dont understan it.
i works because of a phenomion called persistence of vision,  anything that flashes more than 50 times a second appears to stay lit, make has a better description in the digital glow stick project, and wikipedia's article
sebas1255 years ago
 if it works that would be awesome!!!

Briguy96 years ago
Lol that's what I was wondering!
squid labs
zimmemic256 years ago
what i never understand: how does that thing know how fast it moves? because if i move faster, but the animation speed of the LEDs is the same, the text will be wider but have the same size, so itll look stupid.
thats my question....
it doesn't know how fast it's moving, it just keeps blinking
ooooo...so if you moved it really fast it would just be longer between the letters...i see
and if it would be moved even faster, there would be letters at the ends of the area in which its moved, which suddenly end in the air. don't think thats a good solution.
fireman1156 years ago
Freaking Awesome
MELEGO3516 years ago
How about modifying this for a bike rim so when you ride you can display messages or just cool images. Could this work?
Why not? Combine it with another Instructable for powering safety light with dynamo from disk drive magnets. As wheel spins it generates power. Do this on one side of wheel. 180 degrees opposite put Dance Messenger. Vary distance to hub of wheel of both assemblies to balance wheel.
tannerr526 years ago
Dont step in a Puddle! Nice Instructable!
eyebot1176 years ago
What if someone used this technology to mount one of these circuits on a boomerang. As it flies, it spells out a word. Is this possible?
pyroelfears6 years ago
can u use the arduino
Hi, that's my version, with a PIC16F627
Very nice, Arthur! :) ...I've just started programming PIC16F684's, and I've been wanting to build a POV device. Could you tell me how you did yours? Schematics or anything? Thanks! samuelaaronward@gmail.com
Sorry it's too long ago.
There is nothing special:

GND <-----LED----Resistor---------IO_PORT on PIC
That's it??? Just simple LED outputs from a PIC's I/O ports? But isn't there some fancy timing scheme? Or an accelerometer to detect how fast you're waving it back and forth - in order to control how fast the lights are updated?
Here the board:
Thanks, Arthur! :) Nice pictures - not all that complicated. What are the chances that you'd send me your schematic and code? If so, please send directly to samuelaaronward@gmail.com. Thanks a bunch!!! -Aaron-
Hi, it could be take a while. I'll search for it.
Thank you, Arthur! :) I really appreciate it! samuelaaronward@gmail.com
Yes. It's a photo effect - playing with exposure. Here an other picture:
How? Please.
Hey Shady! I like that thingy......!! its pretty neat....can you send me the circuit you used?? i mean i am looking for some PoV toys that use PIC12F629....or maybe PIC16F627... Ya' know, its free!
sparr6 years ago
the minipov3 is out from ladyada.net, might be worth linking
Badgergirl6 years ago
boday7 years ago
hai i am boday from INDONESIA.. i want to know in your project "DANCE MESSENGER", in "the Circuit board step" you say :L1, C1, and C3 -->"Dont need these for this project" the orange wire and X1,X2, and X3-->"Not used" what must i do to this component?? can i "short" them??(i mean Like use jumper??) thank for you answer...
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