n00tron is a unique technology and art exhibit. Generative light art is created in the spherical volumetric display with complete interactivity.  Participants have realtime control of the display drawing algorithms using knobs and switches on the control panel. Great fun for all ages, learn about Persistence Of Vision display technology while producing your own animated artistic creations!

n00tron needs a home in a museum near you!
Please contact us if you can help: dan at MonkeyLectric dot com

by MonkeyLectric

As seen at:  Maker Faire 2010, SigGraph 2010, Maker Faire 2011, Maker Faire NYC 2011

Step 1: What is it?

Picture of What is it?
About n00tron:

- it is a true 3-dimensional display (also known as a Volumetric display)
- the display volume is spherical, about 550mm in diameter
- the display is created by spinning a bicycle wheel with rows of lights inside it
- the bicycle wheel is spun in 2 axes simultaneously
- n00tron is great for making light art, but it is not possible to make 3D bitmaps.
- n00tron is controlled interactively from a control panel
- n00tron draws colorful patterns using simple parameterized drawing algorithms (also known as Generative Art)
- the control panel has lots of knobs that set the basic parameters of the drawing algorithms
- participants of any age can easily create their own amazing 3D light sculptures!

Read on for more information!

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Is this a tutorial or just an explanation on how this works? How much does making something like this cost (besides the lights and software, I already know that's close to $1000)?

franky1112 years ago
for your intellectual fufillment please visit the university of nigeria for more information, log on to unn.edu.ng
if you want to do the princess leah scene then we can help. weve just documented how to make a volumetric display that will do just that . 200 million vexels per second . pop over to www.openvolumetric.org and check out our video and full guide . cheers.
makendo4 years ago
Dan - fantastic machine, looks amazing. Given that you're looking to find a home for it in a museum, I wonder if you could program it to depict molecular orbitals? These depict the 3D probability space for electrons in an atom, and are fundamental to our understanding of chemistry. They're also notoriously hard to visualize, but your n00tron could really bring an abstruse subject to 3D life in spectacular fashion (and might be a selling point for a science museum?). See the Orbitron for images, equations, dot density diagrams, etc. 
dan (author)  makendo4 years ago
some of the output modes already look a lot like electron orbitals, this is one reason we called it 'n00tron'.
RMORENO75 dan3 years ago
Hey Dan, are you still looking for a museum for the "Rope and Sound Interactive Tensegrity Sculpture"? I'll be emailing you at your monkeylectric email with my info. Thanks.

Lic. Robert Moreno
neutron7 dan3 years ago
I approve of the name.
petruza3 years ago
Why aren't 3D "bitmaps" ( or voxelmaps ) not possible?
Is it not possible to keep a point fixed on a 3D position?
Is it not possible to know with precision where in space will a certain led be at a certain time as a function of time and rotation angles?
petruza petruza3 years ago
Oops ignore the double-negative.

( Why aren't 3D bitmaps possible? )
glier4 years ago
LIKE, LIKE, LIKE!!!! where's the like botton????, i need desperatelly to press it!!
I wouldn't have thought to use two-axis rotation, but I have thought about the possibility of using your "2nd axis" as the "only axis", and just covering the wheel with LED strips, or even just a low-resolution LED "screen" being rotated about that axis. Which would be easier to implement, the fewer-LED dual-axis or the many-LED single-axis?
dan (author)  computer_freak_84 years ago
single axis with a rotating panel of LEDs is much easier if you are starting from scratch. we only built ours this way because we already had the bicycle wheels covered with LEDs.

for example see:
dermaga_064 years ago
Valence_44 years ago
Had anyone ever tried to change the axis of a spinning bike wheel ? The precession forces are very high !!!

If you want to DIY a such project, be prepared to build a RIGID mount !!!! You'll need it !
sblank4 years ago
It really is quite something, but am I reading that price right? is the light piece 2000 dollar, because thats certainly out of most DIYers price range...
Mastros4 years ago
This is one of the most geniously inspired constructions I have seen here.

I am sure that, after the author has done the difficult part of inventing this idea, many of us can now start thinking of ways to add even more motions to the lights.
great thing!!!! I would like to make one, I love it :)
godofal4 years ago
i've seen one before though, but that one is small
and it has just 3 LED's
but this one's really cool since you can actually program it and make it show/do whatever you want it to do
awesome job!
Ha yes. I saw that too and I really want to make one. Then I was doing a search for electrical slip ring and saw this instructable. Dan you, Dan! :) Very nice project indeed. Anyway we (I) could get more info on the slip ring assembly?
dan (author)  santoolangeles4 years ago
i bought a commercial slip ring made for small windmills, it was about $50. there seem to be several companies that make them if you google for it. some on ebay also.

Valence_44 years ago
Have you tried to change the rotation axis of a spinning bicycle wheel ?

This machine must be very well built, because precession forces will be enormous when both axes are in motion.!
bwool14 years ago
When watching the video, I kept waiting for it to fly apart or blow up... Very impressive machine you've got there though.
rpb4 years ago
Very cool!

Rotating the whole thing about the second (vertical) axis creates a pretty large torque, I imagine, which must be the cause of the high stresses and vibrations you see. I'd hate to be anywhere near if something worked loose, broke or jammed under those stresses!

I imagine if you had a lot more LEDs on the wheel you could spin along the first axis much slower to cover all the points (and maybe even get Princess Leia up!), which would reduce the stresses - in other words you could add LEDs to trade off price against stresses/strength.
Good point rpb. I agree. And to prove it, I'll back you up with some gloss-over physics.

Gyroscopic forces can reach very large values very easily by slightly increasing the rate of rotation (and consequently angular momentum).

In other words, slightly decreasing the rate at which the wheel spins would dramatically decrease the torque experienced by the thing spinning it around its second axis. That would increase the lifetime and safety of the machine.
Very nice instructable indeed.

To reduce the gyroscopic forces i would remove the spokes and the rim. Just use enough support for the Led PCB's. Because the farther away the mass is from the center of rotation, the more force is generated.
Actually I think both the first and second axis of spin have variable rates (correct me if I'm wrong) which means that instead of slowing it down, you'll just have to make it strong enough to handle the greatest load (max. allowed spin rate for both axes). That, or limit the speed within safe bounds.
bijikenyot4 years ago
very pretty jobs...
can it mix into winamp visualyzer?
dan (author)  bijikenyot4 years ago
not currently but it would be straightforward since all the control panel signals go through a laptop already.
Its Nice........Interesting
bosherston4 years ago
Love it.
trgz4 years ago
merijnvw4 years ago
I have no words for it....
Edgar4 years ago
Great work, keep on inventing! :)
mickgoth4 years ago
LOVE IT.... what about putting sensors so your computer can read its exact position on the axis... then you should be able to do 3d text and other visuals
MiLeXx4 years ago
Vi uno parecido antes pero este esta mas elaborado! Genial!
awesome. Can you do 3d text?
I'd like to see 9 of them in a grid.
or 27 in a close set cube.

Great stuff.
Coooooool !!!
coastus4 years ago
You can also use different strips. I found some information on LED strip light info , but what do I exactly need? What is the light intensity?
CrLz4 years ago
Great resolution, very nice clarity!
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