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Dormitory Turned Into Huge Color Display 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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Dormitory Turned Into Huge Color Display

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  • But... (Score:2, Funny)

    by santax ( 1541065 )
    When will Netbsd support it?
  • Nice! Does anyone know the name of the first song on the hour long video? That's a really nice chiptune.
  • Resolution? (Score:5, Funny)

    by pscott56 ( 1413131 ) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @12:36AM (#27976307)
    What is the maximum resolution of a dorm these days? Not like those high end skyscrapers...
    • In this case, having a high dot pitch, while nice for a display, is a bad thing for people living in there.
  • badass (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BeaverCleaver ( 673164 ) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @12:44AM (#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.

    • In my university the only thing you see on dorm windows is stacked bottles of beer. Seriously.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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: (Score:1, Troll)

      by mapkinase ( 958129 )

      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MoonBuggy ( 611105 )

        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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LordRobin ( 983231 )

          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 a

        • 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 :-)

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

    • 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: (Score:2, Insightful)

        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 were

  • In related news... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Seriousity ( 1441391 ) <Seriousity@NOSPAm.live.com> on Saturday May 16, 2009 @12:45AM (#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 (Score:2, Funny)

    by Zankarst ( 1550721 )
    Excellent! I've always wanted to know what porn looks like in 4 colours on a screen that big!
  • Given the low resolution of the games and the other games they were playing, I was expecting the original Duke Nukem [youtube.com].
  • by amirulbahr ( 1216502 ) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @01:24AM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DigiShaman ( 671371 )

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

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

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

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.


  • 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.
  • Blinkenlicht (Score:4, Informative)

    by knappe duivel ( 914316 ) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @03:33AM (#27977013)
    Also done by Chaos Computer Club in Berlin in 2001, called Blinkenlicht. http://www.blinkenlights.net/ [blinkenlights.net]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sznupi ( 719324 )


      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.

      • by keeboo ( 724305 )

        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?

        • by sznupi ( 719324 )

          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

  • by Zarhan ( 415465 ) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @04:00AM (#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]

  • 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?
    • 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).

  • 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?
  • heh... yeah im being immature i know
  • 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.
  • This puts the students at Brown University turning the SciLi into a giant tetris game to shame.
  • How many Polacks does it take to screw in a few hundred light bulbs and wire them into a computer?

    (joking aside... neat stuff)

  • 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?
  • 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.

The one day you'd sell your soul for something, souls are a glut.