Handheld, straight LED bars have been done. With the code so quickly out of the way, we wanted to take this to the next level. First, the light bar would be replaced with a circle, in order to give the finished pictures an interesting three-dimensional quality. Second, it would be attached to a bicycle to provide smooth motion and to cover much longer distances. Riding this through the darkness during a long-exposure photograph should then create an extruded tube in 3D space. The bicycle “disappears” in the image because it doesn’t sit still long enough for the camera to expose.

A contraption was quickly assembled from PVC pipe and a hula hoop, then spray painted matte black to be stealthy for photos. This rig would attach with zip ties to the rack over the back wheel of the bike.
For power to both the LEDs and computer, a camping battery/inverter was used. The absurdity of this is not lost on us — converting 12V DC to 110V AC back down to 5V DC — but time was of the essence and the portable power unit was already on-hand (and when installed on the bike it looks like a Mr. Fusion…cool!). For something less hack-ish, a DC-to-DC converter would make a lot of sense.

A strip of 96 LEDs was used to go around the hoop

Generous application of zip ties and tape complete the mad science project look. This won’t be surviving a trip to Mars any time soon.
Yes, that’s my bike. Er, trike. What? Why are you looking at me funny?

This guide was first published on Aug 10, 2012. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Motion Rig) was last updated on Aug 09, 2012.

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