Flying spherical display uses rapidly spinning LED rings

May 23, 2017
Relying on the eye's creation of residual images, the spinning rings produce spherical images at video rates.

As noted in Tech-On!, NTT Docomo (Tokyo, Japan) has developed what it calls a "floating sphere drone display," which is just that: a quadcopter drone equipped with a surrounding spherical display that flies while displaying video on the display.

It can be used for dynamic performances at concert halls and live shows and as a flying advertising medium.

The display achieves a complete spherical appearance while avoiding any restriction of the drone's airflow. It does this by rapidly spinning two circular rings, each lined with many multicolor LEDs, around the drone. Because the human eye has a finite response time and retains residual images for a short time, very rapid flashes from the LEDs in sequence add up to create a complete spherical display image at video rates.

In addition, the design is much more lightweight than would be a design that incorporated a true spherical display.

NTT Docomo wants to provide the floating sphere drone display for events at stadiums and concert halls, and aims to commercialize it by fiscal 2018.


About the Author

John Wallace | Senior Technical Editor (1998-2022)

John Wallace was with Laser Focus World for nearly 25 years, retiring in late June 2022. He obtained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and physics at Rutgers University and a master's in optical engineering at the University of Rochester. Before becoming an editor, John worked as an engineer at RCA, Exxon, Eastman Kodak, and GCA Corporation.

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