James Sears works at NYU’s Itneractive Telecommunications Program on three-dimensional display technology. He’s inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s Geoscope idea – a proposed sphere floating above the East River in New York, displaying global information and trends with colored lightbulbs.
Sears tells us that Fuller had the right idea, but the wrong technology. Using LEDs instead of colored lights and rotating the LEDs to create a persistence of vision phenomenon. The system he shows – a spinning 3D globe – creates the appearance of 17,000 LEDs with only 64, and with four on-board controllers. The equator spins at 60mph creating the illusion of sphere of light. The next version, developed with his father, spins on two axes and creates an amazing illusion of volume – he plans on displaying it at ITP this spring.