Extruded Screen


  • The Idea
    • The aim of this project would be to make a small scale volumetric display using a small screen or mobile device, and fiber optic strands from toys. Eventually this would be displayed at a show or something similar.
    • Fiber optic strands pass light through them. If you take a bundle of hundreds of strands and place them over a screen with thousands of pixels, those pixels essentially get extruded into a light volume.
    • This physical volume can either be a short length and shaped into something specific on the end (like a rounded edge, a face, etc) or the fiber strands can be extended several feet (at the slight expense of brightness)
    • The strands can be physically touched and manipulated in a way that normal screens cannot. People can brush their hands through them or section pieces off to look at.
    • This idea is primarily to do a small scale version of this idea with a mobile device, like an old iPhone, as the screen and light generating unit, and then use the prototype as a means to eventually make something larger and more impactful. 
  • Why do I like this idea? Is this a tech demo to explore a novel application, or something more significant?
    • This one leans more into a tech demo, but I think there is something to explore conceptually if the content and the act of touching the light strands results in a novel interaction or way of telling a story. The concept is also somewhat similar to my "TV Telescope" Someday idea in that it is looking at the idea of putting distance between ourselves and screens.
  • What do I have so far?
    • I have a couple videos of me playing with the materials, and I bought a handful of the fiber optic toys to play with.
    • References: 
  • Next Steps/Where I'm stuck
    • Making a coherent image from the strands will be quite a challenge because the toys I will be harvesting from will essentially be randomly placed from tail to tip, which is very different from the fixed grid of pixels in an LCD display. The image "projected" on the tips of the fiber will likely be more abstracted than completely legible
    • The brightness of a mobile device isn't all that high compared to other displays. As such, the brightness of this effect is very limited, so a dark viewing space is required for the full impact.
    • A small high resolution LED screen would be the most ideal for this because it can get very bright, but it is an additional cost that would need to be involved in more of a version 2.0 prototype.
  • Technologies Involved
    • Fiber Optic Strands from toys - like these, but in bulk
    • Mobile device - likely an old iPod or iPhone for this prototype
    • Small LED video panel, likely 2mm or smaller pixel pitch for a 2.0 prototype
    • Nice finished encosure to sandwich the two pieces together - fiber and screen
  • Logistical thoughts
    • Biggest holdup is figuring out how to fabricate something to hold the strands against the screen. I don't have a workshop or easy way to make something for that. I may need to collaborate with someone to design and 3D print an object to hold the strands. Ideally a more finished version would eventually be in a nicely finished wooden box.
  • Are there other elements that could make this better?
    • Making a very large one of these would be ideal, like a 2ft x 2ft lightsource and then fiber optic strands that stretch out 5-10ft from the light source, but still allow people to touch and move them (gently)
    • Sideglow fiber optic strands are a possibility, but they would eat a lot of light
    • Making coherent images on the other end would be amazing, but would require a lot of careful arrangement of fibers
    • Sculpting the viewing end of the fibers would be amazing, but it's unknown how easy it would be to do.
    • Some interactive element that allows viewers to interact with the strands and change the image directly would be great, but would probably require another sensor or something
  • Diagrams, Images, Photos
    • [TBD]

Selected Works

Polarizer ArtworkPhysical artwork with linear polarizers

TV TelescopeWatching TV from a mile away

Extruded ScreenFiber optic filament display

You're on TVLive TV face swap

i miss you, neighborConnecting local strangers and friends

Self Destructive BehaviorScreen that slowly breaks itself

Hold TimePersonal photo blitz

Movie Stickers100,000 stickers in a room

7up | Music Lifts You UpCommercial Work

Google | Project Re:BriefCommercial Work

Lexus | Trace Your RoadCommercial Work

IBM | Outthink Hidden ARCommercial Work

Samsung | Liquid CanvasCommercial Work

Color A SoundAnalog/digital Instrument

Sonic SculpturesPersonal Projects

street_crtPersonal Projects

Music VideosCollaborative video art

Older WorkPersonal Projects

Older Live Visuals WorkAudiovisual explorations 2006-2016