The shadow machine

Arduino Craft & Design
The shadow machine

Jason Eppink and I Am built this Shadow Machine as part of The Underbelly Project. Instead of projecting the animation in a traditional manner by using a single light source and a series of images, their creation uses a separate LED light for each of the six frames, which are each adjusted so that they overlap when pointed at the wall. Then, an Arduino is used to turn each one on in sequence, creating the animation. [via Laughing Squid]

8 thoughts on “The shadow machine

  1. kongorilla says:

    I made something like this last year (but using a simple, cheap 10 LED chaser circuit, easily found online) and have been meaning to write it up for a possible Make article. I snooze, I lose. Again. My headline was “a film projector with no moving parts”. Just because my thunder has been stolen doesn’t mean I can’t still write it up, but…y’know. The novelty is gone.

    1. Matt Mets says:

      No, no, write it up, document it, take photos, put it on Make Projects (, and I’ll make one!

      They aren’t the first to come up with this idea, either…

  2. Marcel says:

    Since the birth of my son (er 3 years and counting!) I’ve been contemplating building a multi-LED projector for his bedroom that would have all his favourite things projected from it – tractor, horse, helicopter etc. I’d like mine to rotate, moving the shapes slowly around the room.

    Maybe this’ll spur me into action?

    1. kongorilla says:

      I considered using mine for something similar. It’s smaller than the “shadow machine”, and perfect for projecting movies on the ceiling. Since it runs silently (no moving parts), and the “movies” are ten looping frames (unable to hold anyone’s attention for too long), it seemed perfect for lulling a child to sleep.

      But my son’s now 8, and rarely has trouble sleeping. Now that I think of it, I’m the one who needs help sleeping. Hmmm. A movie with rocket ships, rayguns, and space-women just might be the ticket.

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