at second glance

at second glance

Most persistence of vision projects I have seen involve moving a strip of leds fast enough that our eye perceives it to be an image. Make magazine has covered many projects of this type.

Jens Wunderling, a student of the Digital Media Class at UDK Berlin, has created at second glance, an alternative approach to POV. Instead of moving the LEDs, Wunderling has them fixed in position, but plays with saccades (our eyes never look straight, but always make fast tiny movement around an area).

So if you happen to glance past the work, you may notice something unusual. On second glance, if you shake your head, you will be able to clearly see the symbol. Created as a “guerilla messaging device, made to place hidden critical messages within the abundant medial environment in the city”.

Developed using Arduino and Processing, the source code of which is available on his site, and 32 ultrabright LEDs.

Watch video
Development blog

More from Jens Wunderling
loopArena at Cybersonica, Building a multitouch, loopArena multitouch


  1. What a fantasy for the application of this concept :) I don’t think would work that well with a car running at 300km/h ;)

  2. I saw this concept executed very well, commercially, as marketing for a drink called “Red” in about 2000. Lines of red LEDs around the club, which eventually, throughout the night, you would eventually catch in your vision, spelling out “RED” in vertical letters.

    Very cute concept, but I don’t think this lad has much claim at being the first to make it work.

  3. @ christian: no, it wouldnt work like illustrated in the picture… from far away it would still be a line. but driving by at 200 km/h, in the corner of your eye the device moves at a relative speed of 55.56 m/s (btw. great site: ;) ) since there is 1ms delay between the virtual pixel columns, the distance would be ca. 5cm. at least the co-driver, looking at the driver would see crosses behind him. now i stop being a smart-a** ;)
    its not been tested though, the greatest problem will be that you automatically focus your visual attention on the light, you follow it with your eyes and *boom* the effect is gone.

    @ DeathBoy: no i am definitely not claiming to be the first one to use POV displays this way, as stated on, “Ruth Schnell used this technology in her 2004 work “Blut für Öl”.” The Principle is well-known and -documented. My concept is not focusing on the technology, but on the way it is used:

    a) place hidden cirtical messages in public space and

    b) people have to shake their heads in front of an ad or something else to reveal the negative side, which makes them negate the object at the same time… ;)

    I’d really like to see the “red” installation… was it large? i didnt find any pictures…


  4. I recently saw a similar device used to great effect at the 2008 “Tiefenrausch” inistallation, an (literally) underground exhibition in Linz, Austria. The salt mines where Hitler stashed stolen works of art was used as an art “gallery” . As you walked in semi-darkness you could see messages in your peripheral vision.

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