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The Christmas tree effect

    Called "Skye" because you look up to see it, Skye0ne is a rather frivolous attempt to make use of a pair of old VGA monitors which were stacked under my carport and probably would have ended up in landfill otherwise. I was going to cut off and re-used the VGA cables from them but I just happened to quip to Dr. Panda one day that they'd look good mounted in the ceiling and used as downlights.
    Dr. Panda thought that was just crazy so next thing I know he's got a plan and their destiny was sealed.
    Dr. Panda invoked his mystical Psychoboys Power and in but a split second had figured out all the intermediary steps required to make it happen. He expertly removed the outer shell of these monitors and mounted the picture tubes directly into my ceiling. To do that he first had to re-enforce and repair the ceiling to cope. He also made major modifications to the roof cavity while he was at it. Removing the entire barge board and building in new support. He did an amazing job of this 70 year old building. He all but re-built it from the inside out while he was at it.
    We hunted high and low for materials to make a suitable defusing frame. We needed something to disguise the fact that they were just computer monitors. What we eventually came up with was this quasi-gold plated grilling which was for use on fluorescent lamp fixtures. Why gold? I don't know but when Dr. Panda finished framing it all, it ended up looking like something out of Saddam's bathroom.
    I took over from there designing the electronics to interface an old P90 computer to the pair of monitors. I also designed a power control system and other sundry electronics which allow the monitors to be switched off and on by remote control. When all that was done, Dr. Panda installed it and connected it up.
    Finially the project was topped off by a superb small linux distro called De Li Linux (Desktop Lite) and the most excellent SGV graphic display program by Russell Marks. Who also kindly helped us modify the code slightly to accomodate in-flight control of brightness and gamma. And I can't leave it there without mentioning the great help of George El Hadhad for compiling and debugging.
    Resolution is not an issue here. Even 640 X 480 is overkill. Nor is colour depth an issue. 8 bit colour works just fine. Everything about this project is either old, recycled or re-used. All of this stuff would have quite literally, ended up in land fill.
    The monitors aren't meant to be viewed as displays. In fact they're not really meant to be viewed at all. They are designed to be colourful down-lights scattering a slight bit of colour and shape around the room. Anyone can have a romantic evening by candle light but that's just not crazy enough for us. It's pretty hard to get a purple flame out of a candle without a bit of liquid oxygen. The monitors display a succession of graphics such as JPEGs or an Animated GIF file. Looping continuously and providing quasi-random colour and shapes. It reflects off the shiny gold plated grill and scatters. It looks very different from every angle.
    Once again my cameras let me down. The Web cam can't see much at all and neither it not the still camera can catch the plasma effect which is only visible from an angle. But I'm working on trying to capture a small amount of video for this because it really does look like a Christmas tree on steroids.

    Photo 1 shows a long shot of the lab with MWOWM in the distance. Showing the over-all length of the grill/frame and it's positioning on the ceiling. And yes. That IS a mirrorball.
    Photo 2 shows a close up of one of the monitors which are mounted out near the extremes of the frame.
    Photo 3 trys to show the Christmas-tree-effect. The device that starts in the upper right hand corner and extends across the ceiling is the SkyeOne panel. The red is the reflection of the many red-lights in the studio. In reality it looks better than this because it's moving and winking all the time. And getting the exposure right isn't easy from this angle. I'll try and capture some video and do a time laps sequence at a later date.
    Photo 4 is a close up of one of the grill, light ports. Not a bad shot of some of the plasma-like patterns generated and reflectedout by the grill.
    Photo 5 is a view from the con. What you see looking up from the chair that I'm currently sitting in. The other light is a 50watt down-light so you can see the monitor is quite bright.

Next, the Bookshelf project including the above mentioned display.

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NEW - Download video of Skye0ne in action