A Volumetric Projector is ... what R2-D2 used to show Princess Leia in Star Wars.

This is an old project that seemed halted by refusal by DLP to provide a DMD chip
to vastly increase the 3D resolution. This project has not changed at all since
before HDTV even existed. I suppose after people realize the world isn't flat, this is what
they will watch when 1800's movie technology finally gets "old".

It is simple enough to have been built entirely by not more than 2 people, in a very short
total amount of time.
It actually does project animated 3D bitmapped images into the air.
It can be made by anyone who is good at PIC programming and mechanically inclined.
It cost us NOTHING, and has potential beyond most high budget 3D display research.
It contains no parts that were not available in 1980. All were scavenged from a junk pile.
Most or All of it's 3D animations were sent 100 miles over a 14400 baud modem.
It does not stop if the modem hangs up.
It looks the same from all angles.
It has no mirrors, just one lens, which doesn't have the size limitation of a parabolic mirror.
It's a hunk of junk, but it works.

IT IS PUBLIC-DOMAINED (cc-share alike)

And, should the info be updated, a solution to the failure to acquire DLP may be included.
As well as some more of the animations that are stored in it.

That's an old 80286 laptop, used as a TTY on the right.
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see for details of how to make a stunning device capable of recreating the famous r2d2 scene from starwars



Why does it go over to another site that is asking for my email?
technoguy943 years ago
OK, I'll admit a lot of this I don't understand, but from what I do understand the image is created using a grid of LEDs. If that's true, couldn't the LED grid be replaced with a small LCD screen to boost resolution and add full color support? Assuming the frame rate is high enough, that is.
tinker2343 years ago
nice hard to see in the light look at this and combioned together valle
paulinohio4 years ago
It would have been nice to see a link for a 2D demo of the device in action. Maybe I wasn't reading close enough. So I will keep an eye, well both eyes, on this one. Also I was wondering has anyone ever used fiber optics for any sort of surround vision or 3D? If so, how big was it? It seems like you could do amazing things these days with fiber optics and video images. Then again I bet a scanning projection system is more practical...
mburchell5 years ago
Does anyone know of a way to contact the creator of this project.
I Need this Light for my Light Shows How much for you too make one for me ..........
conrad24686 years ago
could you..uhhh make this again only do an instructable "for dummies"?
i agree with u i still dont know what it is.
Awesome. This is too cool. can you pls upload an insturctable for dummies??? :D abt the connections and stuff. It might sound stupid but alot of ppl who are interested cant compile junk too artfully :( lemonade rox:P
Azurial6 years ago
Have you tried an increased memory cache and/or a small LCD screen/512 LED set up?
blckthng6 years ago
So what exactly does this do again?
starthorn8 years ago
"IT IS PUBLIC-DOMAINED (cc-share alike)" Just a note, there is actually a very significant difference between Public Domain and the Creative Commons Share Alike license. Placing something in the Public Domain means you are relinquishing all claims of ownership and copyright from the work in question. Anyone can do anything they want, including slapping their name on it and claiming they wrote it. The CC Share Alike license means that anyone can copy and use it provided they continue releasing it under the same license (See their site for further details).
VIRON (author)  starthorn8 years ago
My intention is like if I invented and sold lemonade, I don't mind giving everyone the recipe, so they can sell lemonade too and so can I. I know how to make purple lemonade too, and if you ask me I'll tell you, even though I am not selling purple lemonade now, I still can. Right now my yellow lemonade is free for all. I own the original prototype (scissors cut paper) and don't understand how public domain could mean that everyone Except Me has copyright.
how do u make purple lemonade? I'm thirsty
VIRON (author)  thermoelectric6 years ago
I'd go to the baking section of the store and buy food coloring,
mix something around 2 parts blue with one part red, and mix it dropwise with a clear jug of ice water until the water is purple. Then slice 1 or 2 lemons and drop the slices in the jug.
Honestly I never made it before because it is silly but now that it is
in the public domain, no one can patent "Purplemonadetm".
Anyway it's just a metaphor; selling lemonade is an archetypical
example of a traditional childhood business experience.
hollasch VIRON8 years ago
To respond to your last sentence, "public domain" means that a work is completely given over to the public, and that you surrender all rights of control over that work. In that sense, everyone (including you) has the right to make a copy of that work, in part or in whole, and to use it for whatever purpose they desire. Also, while they can attempt to claim that they wrote it, they cannot impose any future restrictions on it (trying to control future copies) or legally claim ownership of the work. This may or may not sound scary to you. For me, I vastly prefer to put my work in the public domain than to try to rule everyone's use of it (the approach taken by the Gnu license, Creative Commons licenses, and so forth).
kingkewl7 years ago
True Steampunk ... Too Kewl !!!
It isn't steampunk....
jak066 years ago
whats the estimated cost?
VIRON (author)  jak066 years ago
This was done on zero budget, with access to junk and obsolete equipment (more junk). (free time + free junk + a few cents worth of electricity)
Pyrotechnik7 years ago
Very nice. Try to imitate the starwars thing with the princess and crap. that'd be awesome
thread_soul7 years ago
I must admit, your reflective approach to persistence of vision volumetric projection is pretty neat, seems more promising in certain areas than most of the direct emittance and opaque media illumination methods currently in commercialization. What are your thoughts on radial / rotational methods vs. translational in order to gain an increase in vertical volume?
VIRON (author)  thread_soul7 years ago
Not enough details in your question. Rotating a circuit board full of LEDs presents problems with power and data connections and the image can not be touched. My projector's volume is already like two cubes full of voxels stacked vertically, although most demos use single-cube volume because it requires half as much memory and is symmetrical. Math rotation of objects is documented on the project website. Experiments I've done with rotating LED boards have had brightening toward the axis, along with a dark axis core, and trouble synchronizing at the 0/360 degree position, resulting in a ripping effect.
I was thinking of something along the lines of projecting vertically downwards onto something akin to a coreless mirror screw of pitch = 1. Based on the video, the height appeared not more than 1/2 or 1 voxel at most... if in reality the system is operating at 2 voxel height or more, the question is a moot point; having to cope with synchronization and ripping issues wouldn't serve the effort required.
andymac7 years ago
I saw your video and was just thinking, if you had a modified subwoofer that was capable of making a 20 hz tone, that could create 40 fps (1 fps for the subwoofer going up, 1 for it going down again) for your projector, this is below the levels of human hearing so you could have a "silent" projector and 40fps is more than enough. Also is it true if you have a lens that is net concave even if only one side is concave, because that would mean that you could possibly make your image larger than the led array if you curve the lens out enough and are you aiming to replace the led array with something like an ipod sceen, but with about 100x more fps fps and about 100x more brigtness
VIRON (author)  andymac7 years ago
-Too hard to sync the up and down frames. -Possible to use different kinds of net concave lenses, yes. -Very high brightness and fps and color and resolution is possible with DLP type DMD/MEMS (micromirror arrays).
andymac andymac7 years ago
ignore the first paragraph, you've already answered it
endolith7 years ago
Public domain and CC-sharealike are not the same thing.
VIRON (author)  endolith7 years ago
OK, here's the deal. IANAL. I invented most of this. It is unique. I am developing it. I teach you how to build it and that it exists. You may build and sell it, and make improvements, and I reserve all rights to do the same. This is not secret nor patented so don't worry about infringements. The obvious project goal is to develop a very large 3D display. People are thirsty, so let's make lemonade!
endolith VIRON7 years ago
Yeah just pointing it out. CC-sharealike means people who modify your design have to share it too. Public domain means people who modify your design can make that modified design proprietary.
Damn. Whicked pissa ( that means I like it very much). I had a daydream once about building a volumetric projector. I'm so impressed that you really did it. My daydream came from one of those crappy LED toys you see around Xmass and new years. You know, the ones with the ring of LEDs in this plastic ball shaped thing that spinn around and blink, sort of like the sphere thing at radio-shack and Brookfields that is a sphere shaped lighning board (it's a spinning ring of LEDs). My daydream was to build a spinning ring of RGB LEDs with 180deg light diffusers, so that you get this 3D (spherical surface) that is really a matrix of pixlels organized by timing of the ring position and the blinking LEDs. It's not a true XYZ pixle thing like what you've got going on, but it should give you that 3D freaky feeling because it is an image occupying a volume. I remember this haunted house gag that projected a face onto a bug-screen that was mashed into a bowl shape roughly the length and width of a face. The projected details on the 3D surface looked like a damn face! Lesson: a rough 3D surface can take you a long way if you have decent resolution. I was daydreaming about a four foot high scary haloween face/head, rotating around in a spherical volumetric projection, and saying nasty stuff. scary. The head would be imaged by blinking the LEDs on the ring. All you need is like 44 frames a second (60's better), a three or four foot diameter ring with like 1" hemisphere diffusers (the pixles) containing HB RGB LEDs, and .... Well OK, I've never done any of that. You are an inspiration.
to bad im not good with electronics or stuff like that. BUT THAT IS SO GOOD!!!
what exactly does this thing do? is it a holograph?
VIRON (author)  James (pseudo-geek)7 years ago
It is technically a mirage, not a hologram. It uses the ability of some lenses to make a mirage, moves the lens to move a flat mirage, and changes the mirage (at the source) while in motion into cross-sections of 3D objects. The source of the mirage image is a flat board stuffed with LEDs, controlled by a microcontroller.
Mad Cat7 years ago
WOW... Can't believe it took me so long to see this...
MerleCorey7 years ago
This is incredible! Im sure you could quiet it down a bit and mabey use a bigger lens...i dont know mabey an actuator instead of whatever motor you use for the up and down.
VIRON (author)  MerleCorey7 years ago
"Next time" will be much better. Color. More Voxels. No big loud motors. However, the next similar instructable may likely be a Virtual Reality project, which is much more DIY-able and useful with familiar computer parts. Hopefully something much more FUN to build and use.
VIRON (author) 7 years ago
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