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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.