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Dormitory Turned Into Huge Color Display

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the color-your-windows dept.

Displays 69

macson_g writes "Students from Wroclaw University of Technology (Poland) once again turned one of their dormitories into huge display. The project is called P.I.W.O. (B.E.E.R.). This time they converted a 10-story building into 4-color, 12x10 display. The business was used to display animations, and to play interactive games as well. On the project page (in Polish, Google translation here) you can watch an almost hour-long video, featuring music videos, a Tetris session, a dancing Michael Jackson, Duke Nukem and Mario."

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But... (2, Funny)

santax (1541065) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976147)

When will Netbsd support it?

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27977571)

Also, where is the web interface so we can play online?

Name of the first song on the video? (1)

JustinRLynn (831164) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976205)

Nice! Does anyone know the name of the first song on the hour long video? That's a really nice chiptune.

Re:Name of the first song on the video? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976947)

I was wondering the same too, that's cool as hell. Someone around here must have heard it before :\

Re:Name of the first song on the video? (5, Informative)

Zeussy (868062) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977147)

Nice! Does anyone know the name of the first song on the hour long video? That's a really nice chiptune.

Well, it was driving me insane as I have been listening to Chiptune songs for the last 2-3weeks, and I knew I had heard it, so after a search through my play list, here it is:

Mr. Spastic - Sloppy

His album and many great others can be got for free (under creative commons) from 8bit Peoples [8bitpeoples.com]

Re:Name of the first song on the video? (1)

JustinRLynn (831164) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977511)

Awesome! That's exactly right, thanks so much. :)

Re:Name of the first song on the video? (1)

genjix (959457) | more than 5 years ago | (#27978109)

awesome thx

Uh.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976233)

Is that a stick figure swinging his penis around in circles starting at 34:15 in the video? WTF...

Re:Uh.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976281)

Did you expect more from college students?

Re:Uh.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27977369)

especially polack's

Resolution? (5, Funny)

pscott56 (1413131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976307)

What is the maximum resolution of a dorm these days? Not like those high end skyscrapers...

Re:Resolution? (1)

JustinRLynn (831164) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976321)

In this case, having a high dot pitch, while nice for a display, is a bad thing for people living in there.

badass (4, Interesting)

BeaverCleaver (673164) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976341)

A truly neat project. Are employers impressed by such feats? They should be. Does any body have more information of this? what sort of microcontrollers used, networking protocols...

Also the social engineering is impressive. I wouldn't have had much success asking other residents to put banks of lightglobes in their windows where I went to university, but at my school we did have an inordinate number of whiny law student types.

Re:badass (1)

Zapotek (1032314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976419)

In my university the only thing you see on dorm windows is stacked bottles of beer. Seriously.

Re:badass (3, Funny)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976823)

In my university the only thing you see on dorm windows is stacked bottles of beer. Seriously.

You went to the wrong school. At my university the dorm windows were full of stacked coeds. Seriously. :-P

Re:badass (4, Funny)

lewko (195646) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977401)

Admit it - You only know that because you read about it on IRC one Saturday night, when everyone else had gone out.

Re:badass (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27979237)

My brother stacks Yoghurt pots there.
Yeah, he's a bit weird.

Re:badass (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976815)

Looks like a Atmel AVR in 32-pin TQFP, perhaps ATmega8? Network is wired (imagine cabling the 12 rooms X 10 floors!). I bet it's some serial protocol, perhaps all floors are huge shift registers (each controller has 2+ RJ connectors to create a chain)?

As for the social engineering, you can use a lot of social lubricant (BEER) while hand-painting the bolbs (which they did).

PIWO acronym translates loosely to Huge Indexed Window Displayer.

Re:badass (1, Troll)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977285)

I wonder what it would be to live in one of the dorms when you actually do not want your window to be a part of this "experiment" or the noise outside.

Re:badass (2, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977813)

I can't think of any reasons to have a problem with it other than the excessively contrived or the whining spoilsport types. It's a cool project, it took up a window for maybe a day, and there was a bit of noise outside for a few hours.

To put it bluntly: lighten up a bit!

Re:badass (3, Insightful)

LordRobin (983231) | more than 5 years ago | (#27980635)

I dunno, man. Watching this today, I thought it was incredibly cool. But when I was in college 20 years ago, I was a different person. It was a difficult time for me, socially, and my dorm room was the only place I could "get away" when I needed to. I think I might have been a little bitter if I was told I had to let someone in to wire up lights, and essentially be kicked out on show night ('cuz it's not like you could study or sleep in there when the show was on). I find it hard to believe that with as many as 240 students affected, there wasn't at least one poor schmuck who just wanted to be left alone.

I guess I'm just saying that I hope this wasn't crammed down everyone's throats without giving them a choice.

------RM

Re:badass (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 5 years ago | (#28004855)

That was 25 years ago. I was "lighter" than my roommate who used to throw shoes at everyone at the throwable distance when his sleep was disturbed. He is the president of the company and I am not :-)

Re:badass (1)

BeaverCleaver (673164) | more than 5 years ago | (#27983157)

Why the hell would you live in a dorm if you didn't want noise, light and disturbance?

Re:badass (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 5 years ago | (#28004765)

25 years ago we did not have many options. Hostel was the cheapest.

Re:badass (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977997)

Maybe I'm just jaded, but it's not really impressive in 2009, when it's practically the 100th time people have done this and you can assemble a similar light show in a matter of hours with readily-available equipment and software.

Ten years ago we were saying "Huh, neat!" at these setups, today it's more of a "Lern2hack" reaction.

Re:badass (2, Insightful)

BeaverCleaver (673164) | more than 5 years ago | (#27983233)

Wow, really? You can read the manual on some "ready-available equipment and software" and assemble it the way the engineers intended?

Just because a product already exists doesn't make it any less impressive to build your own from scratch. These guys designed their own serial network and used it to switch multiple big electrical loads and it was robust enough for other students to play with. They did all this on a limited budget and also persuaded the entire dorm to let them install the hardware.

If they weren't doing cool hardware projects that interact with the real world, they would have been alone in the dorm playing WoW or doing lame quizzes on FaceBook.

In related news... (3, Interesting)

Seriousity (1441391) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976343)

The Slashdot news template is converted into an image display!

No seriously, if you can insert an image into the summary why is it such a rarity?

bit porn (2, Funny)

Zankarst (1550721) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976345)

Excellent! I've always wanted to know what porn looks like in 4 colours on a screen that big!

Another mis-posted Idle Thread (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976425)

Another Idle story posted in a place where it shouldn't be. Brought to you by samzenpus. Good god, who's the idiot who let him post outside of Idle?

Huge? (0, Redundant)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976427)

I don't think 12x10 pixels is huge by today's standards. My netbook has 1024x600 pixels!

Re:Huge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976685)

Are your netbook pixels the size of a ... window?

something about the pics (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976429)

Do you want to make fuck, Berserker.

Duke Nukem (1)

andrewagill (700624) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976501)

Given the low resolution of the games and the other games they were playing, I was expecting the original Duke Nukem [youtube.com] .

Re:Duke Nukem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976821)

Around 22 minutes in the video duke nukem does in fact turn up.

Amazing what you can do with 120 pixels (4, Interesting)

amirulbahr (1216502) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976519)

Whilst technically not very interesting, it was good to watch nonetheless and no doubt would have been a quite a sight in person. What is more interesting though is just how much content they were able to squeeze into 12x10 4-colour pixels.

Re:Amazing what you can do with 120 pixels (2, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976803)

If you thought that was amazing, you will be blown away at the professional version [youtube.com] located in Shanghai.

Re:Amazing what you can do with 120 pixels (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27977245)

I would so love to hack that thing to GOATSE the whole city.

Re:Amazing what you can do with 120 pixels (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27977091)

We have something similar on display each night in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. It's the KPN building, a Dutch telecom company. And yes, Tetris has been played on it. Resolution is higher too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qcia4Ae7Jas

Duke Nukem Forever goes GOLD! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976551)

When Duke Nukem Forever goes gold, does that mean we'll get to see Duke Nukem himself sucking his own golden penis while his anus mouths, "come get some?" and he ejaculates all over his chin and the semen forms a cigar which leaps into his mouth and he puffs on?

fast too (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976643)

unless the film was sped up (unlikely given the sound I suppose), I was not expecting the W bulbs to be as quick to light and extinguish.

lights on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976801)

someone left the lights on on the 8th floor, good job!

This has been done before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976811)

Almost a decade ago, Technology House at Brown University did a similar thing to the Sciences Library. [techhouse.org] The display was larger (in pixels) on a slightly taller building, but only monochrome.

It also played Tetris.

Re:This has been done before (0)

legutierr (1199887) | more than 5 years ago | (#27976883)

Whatever it's relative shortcomings (monochrome, no fancy animations), the tech-house installation had one thing that they didn't have in Poland: Steve Wozniac [techhouse.org]

Re:This has been done before (4, Funny)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977189)

Then get me his non-union Polish equivalent!

Light source ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976881)

So they are using lightbulbs for the colors ?
Can they use just tcp/ip and computer monitors ?

Done before (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27976897)

This is nothing new. It was done earlier by students in Tampare, Finland.

This blog post is dated December 12, 2007:

http://conceptisaddict.blogspot.com/2007/12/tampere-university-of-technology-play.html

Blinkenlicht (4, Informative)

knappe duivel (914316) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977013)

Also done by Chaos Computer Club in Berlin in 2001, called Blinkenlicht. http://www.blinkenlights.net/ [blinkenlights.net]

Re:Blinkenlicht (2, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977335)

Obviously.

No, I'm beeing serious here - it's quite typical for PL computer, internet or, in this case, "social technical experiment/fun" areas to not even try coming up with anything new, just copying (usually poorly).

What's worse, such things grab a hold on local market far too often, through some kind of ill conceived patriotism, and create a bit of a tech ghetto here.

Re:Blinkenlicht (1)

keeboo (724305) | more than 4 years ago | (#27981959)

No, I'm beeing serious here - it's quite typical for PL computer, internet or, in this case, "social technical experiment/fun" areas to not even try coming up with anything new, just copying (usually poorly).

Sort like your nickname "Snoopy"? ;)

Now, seriously... I've always felt that way too, yet I wonder why could that be so.
More specifically in the IT field, there are lots and lots of (at least theoretically) qualified people (and many left PL to work abroad since there are no enough jobs). With so many people, why there's no real breakthrough happening there?

Re:Blinkenlicht (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27984603)

Social realities (you really don't want me to get into factors that shape them...) at work, I guess. Few I could think of immediatelly:

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_Sovieticus [wikipedia.org] (don't limit this effect to failings of soviet block though - I'd say it's also cultivated by, still vast here, infuence of religious authorities...)

- Poland has a background of unqestioned fascination with everything exotic (and at the same time trying to ignore good local stuff) spanning several centuries (noble caste from XVI to XVIII century was shaped by a bit comical combination of west and far (for that time) east influences; which might also relate to how first RP ended in XIX century - contrary to what most people would like to believe, it were internal factors), and it didn't go away at all.

- about education system that you mention...vast majority of people simply care about getting a degree, others are almost shunned at. Nothing unique, but, what's worse, the system isn't geared at all towards individual path of education / creativity / choosing courses / etc.

- Nepotism, close relative to corruption, is all spanning.

- the formal side of running a company is anti-geared towards some small ambitiuos startups (luckily EU influence & direct support initiatives are changing that)

- something which wraps all of the above - people who don't fit prefer to simply leave; it's not really a matter of lack of jobs in IT sector here, more a matter of not seeing interesting perspectives (not limited only to jobs). And it's not a new thing either - throughout most of XIX and XX century undesirables were quite "compelled" to live abroad, in some periods outright killed.

PS. About my nickname - it's actually a name of pet rabbit belonging to my female friend of distant past; when I was finally making an account after few years of lurking, everything else that has a meaning, to me, and it's more sensible, was already taken ;P Hm, I think I didn't even realise about "Snoopy" thing...

Re:Blinkenlicht (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27984569)

This is like saying that noone should learn basic science -- it has been done millions of times, after all.

I do agree that there may be perceived lack of imagination here, but that doesn't make it any less fun! Heck, I'd like to at least remotely help out with P.I.W.O. 4 -- even if it's "nothing new".

As with anything else, the devil is in the details -- there's a lot of things that can be improved in the implementation of such a project.

Just off the top of my head:

1. using bulbs with smaller thermal mass,

2. calibrating the pixel intensity using a digital camera to equalize the luminosity across the display,

3. using micros with Ethernet at each light: presumably the dorm is already wired with Ethernet in each room, that way there'd be no need for extra cables

4. optimizing the location and orientation of lights to maximize the output in say 0 to -75 degree fulcrum, no need to light up the sky, after all (0 - horizontal, negative angles - toward the ground)

5. trying to do sub-pixel addressing - perhaps all it'd take is a simple wooden frame with some aluminum foil "divider" on the window, and well-thought "optics" on the light fixture to "project" the pixels on the walls (again, could be 2-3 layers of aluminum foil vacuum-shaped on a form).

6. having multiple screens (why just one dorm?)

Cheers, Kuba

In Finland too, back in 2007 (3, Informative)

Zarhan (415465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977093)

The biggest apartment building [wikipedia.org] in nordic countries, when undergoing renovation, was set up in a similar fashion...see http://www.mikontalolights.fi/en/ [mikontalolights.fi]

Includes a video. [mikontalolights.fi]

Only four colours? (1)

phyreskull (1275388) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977263)

Would it be much more difficult to have a full-colour RGB display? Why restrict yourself to only five colours (including black), especially with so few pixels?

Re:Only four colours? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977855)

Probablly not that much harder, as I see it there are two main issues

1: getting bulbs the right colors for a good RGB mix. In particular you want quite high saturation colors (close to pure spectrals) which means more loss in the coloring.
2: you would have to design the control boards to be able to dim rather than just switch (using commercial stage dimmer packs would probablly be probibitively expensive).

B.E.E.R.??? (1)

harduser (1451499) | more than 5 years ago | (#27977793)

P.I.W.O. stands for Potezny Indeksowany Wyswietlacz Oknowy which means Huge Indexed Window Display. How would you make B.E.E.R. out of it?

Re:B.E.E.R.??? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27977841)

"Piwo" as a word in Polish means beer.

Re:B.E.E.R.??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27978713)

piwo + google image search confirms this thorogughly. Also: nsfw

Re:B.E.E.R.??? (0, Redundant)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27978299)

The Russian word for beer is 'PIVA' and Polish and Russian are quite close.

easter egg at 7:00 (1)

Kargoroth (1534695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27978219)

heh... yeah im being immature i know

I love this stuff!! (1)

elkto (558121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27978391)

Sweet! I used to put things like that together for bands in my day.
Incandescent lamps response times suck, I wonder if they biased them a little as it can help dramatically.
What did they use SCR's, Triac's, MOSFET's? Looks like a bank of opto isolators to Triac's in the photos.
Cool!

Frank's 2000' TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27978409)

Looks like Frank got his 2000' TV delivered.

Originally from Hungary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27978773)

Well, the Schonherz Dormitory on Budapest has been doing this since 2003... Although I don't know how far did they get with color display since then (it started out monochrome). My guess is that the Polish copied the idea. Of course I have to admit they did a splendid job. :-)
The original idea wasn't even Hungarian: AFAIK the first building dot-matrix display was created on MIT in 1993.

What a shock (1)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 5 years ago | (#27979211)

This puts the students at Brown University turning the SciLi into a giant tetris game to shame.

Already done in november 1995 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27979847)

Ok, done in black and white:
http://www.etv.tudelft.nl/vereeniging/archief/lustrum/90/ [tudelft.nl]
Select "Tetris Record" from the menu. It's still nice to see those projects.

Maybe this will answer the great question... (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 5 years ago | (#27983971)

How many Polacks does it take to screw in a few hundred light bulbs and wire them into a computer?

(joking aside... neat stuff)

Re:Maybe this will answer the great question... (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985231)

Do you also use the words: kike,guinea,spic or that ever popular "N" word?

Operating System? (1)

mathman47 (1535533) | more than 5 years ago | (#27984627)

Details, I need details. Operating system. Hardware. Software language. Lines of code. Was it in English or Polish. Miles of cable. Google needs better a better translator; it is almost impossible to read; maybe it should count as a funny post. My cleaning lady comes Wednesday - should I ask her to redo this?

Should put to rest (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27985217)

As a third generation of of Polish descent, I hope this puts to rest at least some Dumb Polish Jokes. Thomas J. Sobieski II B.S. Pharm. D R. Ph.

Congradulations, you're 9 years late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27987263)

This linux based installation was mid-2000. That required "custom circuit boards" - today you could simply do it with a zwave mesh.

http://news.cnet.com/2100-1040-239433.html

As pointed out, the installation in Berlin was 2001.

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