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This Cool 3D Display Turns Your Music into a Psychedelic Light Show (and Could Be Yours by Christmas)

Dan Tynan
Yahoo Tech

(Looking Glass/Kickstarter)

Want to turn your living room into a rave for the holidays? All you’ll need is a $300 L3D Cube and about half an hour.

The L3D Kickstarter project delivers a crude 3D display in a DIY kit, allowing you to build what the L3D Cube team calls a “volumetric” display. It looks like an animated 3D lightboard. After you construct the box, you can then download visualization apps to it or program your own. Less than 24 hours after it launched, the Kickstarter campaign is more than halfway to its goal of $38,000.

GIF of L3D Cube

(Looking Glass/Kickstarter)

The standard kit takes about 30 minutes to build, says Shawn Frayne, president of Looking Glass Factory, makers of the kit. Each L3D Cube comes with 64 7-inch-long “reeds” with eight multicolor LEDs embedded in each, or 512 lights total. Plug the reeds into a Spark system board, cover it with the cube-shaped acrylic case, and then use an app to connect the device to your Wi-Fi network.

You program the Cube by downloading visualization apps to it via Wi-Fi. Each cube comes with a microphone, so it can change patterns and colors based on the volume and frequency of music or your voice. It can also work with motion sensors such as the Microsoft Kinect and the Leap Motion 3D Controller.

GIF of L3D Cube

(Looking Glass/Kickstarter)

The standard 8 × 8 × 8 cube will cost between $250 and $350 for Kickstarter supporters, $399 for everyone else. More ambitious ravers can tackle the 16 × 16 × 16 model, which features 4,096 LEDs and will cost $2,015. Early supporters will be able to get their hands on them by Christmas, Frayne promises. The rest of us will have to wait until next May.

Supergeeks can swap in an Arduino board for the Spark and write their own programs in Arduino or the Processing language, he adds. Looking Glass co-founder Alex Hornstein has published a free guide on how to do just that.

The L3D Cube is just the first step toward “a volumetric display revolution,” says Frayne, where high-res 3D displays that allow for realistic images will be commonplace.

GIF of scene from Star Wars

“Imagine seeing Princess Leia on a 3D display, asking Obi Wan Kenobi for help,” he says. “This brings us closer to a true holographic display.”

Note: This story has been updated to correct the product name and a few niggling details. No animals were harmed in the process.

Questions, complaints, kudos? Email Dan Tynan at ModFamily1@yahoo.com.