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Awesome 3D-printed holographic display lets you play 'Snake' in 3 dimensions

PropHelix - 3D POV holographic display
Want to relive the heady days of the late 1990s, but with some awesomely futuristic-looking tech instead of fear about the impending millennium bug and a soundtrack comprised of terrible nu-metal bands? Want to do so while putting your do-it-yourself skills to the test?

If so, you are the perfect candidate to enjoy a new Instructables project created by user Gelstronic. He is built a 3D point-of-view holographic display, called PropHelix, which uses a spinning helix of LED strips to create a versatile three-dimensional moving image. Each rotation of the LED helix creates 120 frames of movement for an overall effect that is straight out of the movie Tron.

One of the (multiple) uses for such a cool piece of hardware? Playing Snake of course, aka the beloved mobile game that munched up hours of time for anyone old enough to have owned a chunky Nokia cellphone.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

“In my project, I use a spinning helix of LED strips,” Gelstronic writes about his project. “There are a total of 144 LEDs that can display 17,280 voxels with 16 colors. The voxels are arranged circularly in 12 levels. The LEDs are controlled by only one micro-controller.”

Although we just get a sneak peek at how a game like Snake looks in action in Gelstronic’s video, it looks pretty darn awesome. Next to having a 3D holographic version of Super Street Fighter II, it is hard to think of a title which inspires more nostalgia-tinged reverence among its target demographic.

Gelstronic could definitely have gone the Kickstarter route with his creation but has instead made the necessary files and instructions available for free online so that you can build your own. You need access to a 3D printer, a bit of Arduino experience and an assortment of other pieces to do so, but the effort would definitely be worthwhile.

Check out the detailed instructions here.

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Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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