Make Something Else







MiniPOV An Inexpensive Persistance of Vision Toy history
last edited: August 31, 2008

New & Improved  

This project is discontinued, having been replaced by two improved versions.

Please c heck out MiniPOV2 and MiniPOV3 if you would like to build or buy a kit. Thanks!


This project details a simple, low-cost 'persistance of vision' toy. A simple microcontroller blinks 8 LEDs on and off so that when waved through the air, an image or message appears to float in front of the viewer.

MiniPOV comprises a printed circuit board and battery case

This image was taken by waving the MiniPOV in front of the camera during a long-exposure picture


Originally this project was designed in collaboration with Marcos Ojeda as an easy-to-build demonstration of how microcontrollers work, for new freshman coming into MIT. The design priorities were: ease of construction, cost, and simplicitiy of design. The necessary parts, including batteries and a preprogrammed microcontroller, were assembled into a kit. 100 kits were made at a cost of $3.50 per and distributed. Assembly time for students with no experience soldering seems to be approximately 1 hour.

Possible Improvements  

  1. Even lower cost design? For example, the Atmel ATtiny11L microcontroller, coupled with a 74HC259 would cost only 62 cents, half the cost of the 16F630 used in revision 1, and would also do away with the LED choke resistors (the '259 has an internal 20mA current limit). However, the printed circuit board would have to be larger. Also, the code would be slightly more complex, and perhaps not as 'intuitive' a design.
  2. Make the button do something!