Coca-Cola’s Crazy Robotic 3D LED Wall In Times Square Had A Forerunner … In 1967!

Scala’s Chief Product Officer Peter Cherna had a first-hand look recently at that robotic three-dimensional LED board that Coca-Cola bankrolled and installed in Times Square earlier this month, and it reminded him of something he saw as a kid some 50 years ago.

“As someone who grew up in Montreal, Expo 67 was a part of my DNA (OK I was two at the time, but still …)  The Czech pavilion had a fabulous installation called Diapolyecran.”

Cherna doesn’t have direct memories, but has read up on the installation and describes it this way: “One entered a large room,” he says, “and sat on the carpeted floor, where you watched a wall of 112 cubes, whose ever-shifting and changing images moved backwards and forwards. Inside each cube were two Kodak Carousel slide projectors, which projected still photos onto the front of the cubes.”

“In all, there were 15,000 slides in the 11-minute show. Since each cube could slide into three separate positions within a two-foot range, they gave the effect of a flat surface turning into a three-dimensional surface and back again. It was completely controlled by 240 miles of memory circuitry, which was encoded onto a filmstrip with 756,000 separate instructions.”

It’s mind-blowing to even think about trying to sync up a wall of carousel slide projectors, and get blocks the size of microwaves on drawer sliders, to shift on commands. Check out the control panel for all this, which is a bunch of knobs.

Crazy stuff.

Note – The video is in Czech or Slovak or something that’s definitely not anything I can decode, but you can see what’s up from about 11 minutes into the video.

New Video: That Giant Robotic Coca-Cola LED Board In NYC

This is the best video I’ve found to date about that robotic LED board in Times Square. Depending on your musical tastes, you may want to mute this one.

The video is by Hong Kong-based Radius Displays, which appears to be the company behind the overall project and the robotic LED set-up the company says is patented.

Video: Coca-Cola’s Morphing Times Square LED Board

Here’s a different video looking at that morphing 3D robotic display Coca-Cola has switched on this week in Times Square.

Projects: Coca Cola Switches On World First Robotic 3D LED Board In Times Square

Coca-Cola has had a big sign in NYC’s Times Square for a century, and this week the global brand turned on a new iconic sign billed as the world’s first 3D robotic LED billboard.

It has 1,715 moving and 245 static LED cubes, with an overall visual footprint of 240 square meters, which in non-metric terms, is approximately a lot. The sign replaces the curvy kinetic LED sculpture that was put in place in 2004.

There’s not a lot of detail out there about the who and what of this, but I did see an indication that Convergent – which like Coke is based in Atlanta – had some sort of role in this job.

The video I saw here sorta kinda shows what’s up, but I sense this is one of those “You have to be there …” things to appreciate the 3D robotic aspect of the board. What I see on the video makes me wonder why the 3D stuff couldn’t be done with clever content, but over time there will be more and better information about the thinking and impact. The flowing blocks is technically slick as hell, but again, I think a lot of that visual effect could be done in the content.

I suppose with ALL the LED signs in that plaza, getting noticed increasingly requires something different in shape, or what it does.This certainly is different.