The oldest form of television used a spinning disc with the progression of holes – a nipco disc – to cut the line into pieces to display the image. They are capable of taking unexpectedly high-quality pictures, despite being a surprisingly simple machine and relatively low resolution. Even better, in the age of microcontrollers and bright LEDs, creating something that works is not something that can be done all at once. [James Provost] An Arduino has created one that uses a set of mega and 3D printed parts, so there’s no excuse for not having a spinning disc TV on your shelf.
The Arduino Mega was chosen because it has enough lines to run three six-bit DACs for each of the red, green and blue. The disk is driven by a PWM motor controller and the synchronization is taken care of by a piece of reflective tape and an IR proximity sensor. Pictures and videos are read from an SD card and displayed on the screen in 32-line color. The complete build process can be seen in the video below the break.
One of the surprises when watching a mechanical TV is that its quality is much better than the little resolution you can believe, and with its color display it is much better than a normal monochromatic device. It’s rarely HDTV, but it acknowledges itself well and will provide a great talking point.
If you are curious about Nipkow disks then they are a topic we have tested in the past.