The Wiremap is a project that builds digital 3d objects in real 3d space. To create digital 3d objects in real 3d space, a projector is placed in front of a custom designed projection surface made up of an array of vertical wires.

If you'd like to learn more about the project in general, you can do so at the Wiremap website.

This instructable will show you how to build your own Wiremap from scratch.

Before we begin - let's just make sure that your computer system will run the programs that I've built. For windows users, download the following:

For mac & linux, download the following:
Then, go to http://www.processing.org and download the program. Processing will allow you to run the programs in the zip.

Windows - open calib_64 -> application.windows -> calib_64.exe. If you see a bunch of multicolored lines going across your whole screen, you're good.

Other OS - open calib_64.pde with processing. If you see a bunch of multicolored lines going across your whole screen, you're good.

Press escape to exit the program.

Step 1: Understanding the Main Concept

Before we dive in, let's take a look at the anatomy of a Wiremap. The diagram below is a bird's eye view of a projector throwing it's light.

In regular situations, the projector hits a surface at a given distance. Pretend there is a screen at the line labeled "mapline" that the projector is hitting. Now, take that screen and cut it up into a bunch of vertical strips. By moving some strips closer towards the projector, the projector effectively projects in 3d space.

The projector is fed by a computer that has the depths of all the vertical strips memorized. Through this, we can build digital 3d objects in real space.

The Process

Learn about your projector.
Figure out how many wires you want in your wiremap.
Trace out the layout of your projection on some foam core.
Mark where you want your wires to go on that foam core.
Drop thread through those spots
And run your program
is there a specific pattern i have to use for fixing the wires? for example how far they are away from each other or do they have to be in a steady net?can i choose how many wires i want to use?do they need to have a specific length?
<p>Yup, those are steps 6, 7 and 8</p>
This is one of the most incredible things I've ever seen, congratulations and thanks for posting! So... were you able to render cityscapes or other 3d objects like rotating cubes and such? The first thing that popped into my mind was rendering of 3d objects using SolidWorks and AutoCAD, it would be awesome to display it. Thanks!&nbsp;
&nbsp;Thanks Kal!<br /> <br /> Actually, one of my colleagues rendered out a car - take a look:<br /> <br /> http://www.vimeo.com/1400012<br />
How was he able to do that? Lets just say I have the system ready, How would you &quot;export&quot; images or 3d objects into your software? &nbsp;Thankss!!
Hey there -&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Sorry it took so long for me to reply.<br /> <br /> Yeah, I'm actually more a lighting and hardware geek than that. &nbsp;I actually don't really know how he accomplished it. &nbsp;I'd say get in touch with him. &nbsp;He likes this project, so he's pretty responsive about that sorta stuff. &nbsp;You can hit him up over at that Vimeo page or just message his Vimeo acct, i'm sure he'd respond.<br />
No worries my friend... Ok, I'll get in touch with him and ask him how to export 3d objects, thanks! all the best.&nbsp;
ex-use me could you tel me how he did it if he responded i could not view the page
hmm this would make a awsome ceiling in a nightclub
I am building a wiremap for my science fair project, so i wanted to know what's the science behind this because i have look for it online but i can't get information about it.
I am building a wiremap for my science fair project, so i wanted to know what's the science behind this because i have look for it online but i can't get information about it.
I am building a wiremap for my science fair project, so i wanted to know what's the science behind this because i have look for it online but i can't get information about it.
I had to move the projector temporarily so I just have a picture of it without the projector shining on it. It does work though! This one has 100 strings.
I want to build one of these and hang it over the conference table at my company. I'd have a motor-driven winch to raise and lower the bottom platform to fold the screen up when it's not being used. Figure out a way to display meaningful data on it, and we'd have some really cool looking meetings!
I made one with 100 wires and it works great. I will put some pictures up next week.
That's awesome! I'd love to see how you put everything together. Please do post photos : )
hey could i form a box and make the wires in a image for a holgram
Is it possible to display more succinct objects, such as a person or ball?
ill go build this. ill maybe use 640 wires (= <br/>positioning of wires is randomly?<br/>
Hi there Joxer - Projector's are designed to focus on a plane, not a field, so when you shoot a projection into a field of wires, many of the wires are out of focus. It took me 3 solid days to do my first calibration with 256, so I'd suggest starting small and working your way up. The wire positions are pretty close to random - I weighted the 'randomization' to the wider side of the trapezoid to get a more even distribution. After that I manually changed a few that were right next to each other. I was going to upload this code also, but some of it is in Ruby and I didn't want to confuse people. If you're interested in it, gimme a holler and I'll find a way to get it to you.
Phedhex. I'm a little late to the game but really interested in this project. You mentioned that you have the Ruby code for the randomization. If you don't mind can I have access for this? Perhaps posting on github would be an option too. If you do my username is imarichardson.
how do you sequence the sine surface and runs as one continuously loop in processing??
Hi idmism - I'm don't know if I understand your question. Could you please be more specific?
i am very interested in this. So i have other idea of ... In mine 3d projection each wire has exactly one position and each colum of pixels from projector will lighting on one wire in 3d table. Could you writte your email please? I would to write you. Thanks
im thinking about doing this for a school project but for us to get credit it would have to look like yours in the video. im not getting how you lay out the strings or is it random to a point?
I use a computer algorithm to place the strings that is designed to keep the strings as far away from one another as possible.
It's awesome. I'd like to build one my self. But, can you place the wires randomly around in the wire field? And what types of wires do you use, normal threads?<br />
In the download file you'll find a file that has a sort of (x,y) coordinate system for marking and drilling the holes for the wires. I suppose it would be best to use a nice white thread for this.
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They had something like this but much more advanced on the X-men movie, and they used ferrofluids instead of wires.<br /> <br /> Remember the simulation table when the Professor showed what would happen to New York if that magneto wave hit the city?<br /> <br /> That is similar to this, but yours has pretty colors, not all greyish.
WOW!, This is top notch! Great work on the Instructable and an awesome project. I haven't had time to work on much in a while but this is something I want to play with. Thank you for taking the time to post this.
Could this be synced to music somehow?
Actually it's needless to say, but this is very cool! I wish you many more happy wiremappings !
You are strange. Thank god! We need more people with creative minds. Obvious, I know. Thanks for the hard work and well put together instructable.
Oh dear I thought of something else when I read the titel of the instructable. Well it looks nice.
This takes me back to the 1970s when you could go to a company called Heath Kit and buy a computer that you had to assemble yourself. When you got it assembled and running you could turn on the LEDs built into the computer. That's all, turn on the lights. And they sold them by the thousands!!
There was a kit made for an electronics magazine based on an "SC-MP" chip that did 4 bit calculation with toggle switches and front panel LEDs, I think it was called the "Mini SCaMP" or something, I built one up and that was the first computer I ever owned... How times have changed...
<a rel="nofollow" href="http://oldcomputermuseum.com/mini_scamp.html">http://oldcomputermuseum.com/mini_scamp.html</a><br/>
Hmmm... Are you thinking about the EC-1? That was an analog computer, and could be programmed to solve problems, though nothing very practical by today's standards. :)<br/><br/>ref: <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.heathkit-museum.com/computers/hvmec-1.shtml">http://www.heathkit-museum.com/computers/hvmec-1.shtml</a><br/>
What are some applications of this? I'm not sure I really understand what it is.
Earlier I asked a question before regarding whether or not it would be possible to render complex models such as cities using this method, but it seems the board ate my comment. Also, have you tried using monofilament for your wires, or would that not work? Does the surface your are projecting onto have to be reflective, or could it have fiberoptic properities?
Hey Cryo - theoretically, it would be possible to render cityscapes or topographies, but I just haven't been able do any of that sort of work because of how difficult that is. I should take another look at that, though. A friend has used monofilament, and it seems to work - although it's not quite as bright. My suggestion is to get opaque materials.
I like it- it's a nice low(ish) tech solution to 3D volumetric display. Not sure I'd build one, it sounds like it takes a lot of effort, but I love the concept. Of course, the next thing I'm going to ask is do you have a library to render arbitrary 3D objects on the display? Also, if you had either unlimited patience or some kind of robot to do it for you, couldn't you build a 1024-wire version for much higher res?
I have a contact with an engineer in Manchester who has built plugins for other types of rendering capabilities. We have an arrangement where my code is open source and his is closed so as to protect his work. At any rate, yes, we can build higher res projects - I have a 256 in my apt, and Elliot (guy from Manchester) has built larger ones. One of the interesting limiting factors is that the focus on the projector isn't designed to dither in 3d, so you get these weird blurring issues. My hope is to wait out for laser projectors and go really high res.
Speaking of laser projectors, I was going to link you to an idea using a scanning laser to illuminate specific falling water droplets in a volume, but a) I can't find it anywhere online, just people popping balloons with their laser pointers, and b) judging by a youtube video I stumbled on (something involving laser cut plexi and water) you may already be familiar with the concept. If you know of any videos of a working model of what I just described please post a link, my boss doesn't believe they exist. I'm working towards my own projects involving 3D stuff actually, I can't wait until some of this tech becomes more ubiquitous and I have more toys to play with :)
Excellent instructable!<br/>Not something I have the time (or money!) to achieve but very impressive. You may have something you can take to market!<br/>I am sure that various marketing or event organisers woudl love to have a demo - maybe on a larger scale though?!<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.pcbpolice.com/">PCBPolice</a><br/>
Thanks for your comment! Yeah, actually, I have a larger one (256) that I take to events regularly. And if anybody is interested in events, contact me!
This is awesome , when I get a house in college this would be cool to rig up like under the floor, possibly code up something to analyze the music and control the program , would make for an awesome party.

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Bio: twitter: phedhex Mailing list: http://www.phedhex.com/mailing_list/
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