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Man constructs awesome (but dangerous) LED Christmas tree

This tree might kill you, but it least it looks festive

Do you love gazing at a Christmas tree, letting the feeling of the festive time of year wash over you, but hate having to hassle with a real living tree in your home? Do you wish that those damn artificial trees were easier to store? Do you ever wish that your Christmas tree was a lightsaber that could cleave your hand off like Luke Skywalker? Hardware mad scientist Sean Hodgins might have a product just for you.

See also: KNIPEX Tools Releases Limited-Edition Christmas Ornament

Not content with the spinning ornaments he had built for Christmas past, Hodgins documented his entire process of built a whole spinning tree. The tree takes advantage of the “persistence of vision,” a common optical illusion that allows spinning LED lights to blur and become, to our eyes, a solid, moving image. The project, as you’ll see, was not an easy one, and Hodgins encountered many pitfalls along the way, leaving a trail of broken bearings, burnt-out motors, and failed frames. With some on-the-fly of adjustments, however, the project was a success.

At its core, the tree relies on a Raspberry Pi to power its LED strip, which is sequentially fed images from a folder to produce animations as the frame is spun at dizzying speeds. The final effect reminds me of what a Christmas tree might look like inside of an old Nintendo game, and it is an extremely impressive feat of elbow grease and mechanical engineering.

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