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The ORB (2006)

Many subjects of interest for three-dimensional displays are spherical including, most notably, our own planet and other celestial bodies. The Orb is the first in a forthcoming series of three-dimensional displays that is specifically designed to display images of spherical objects in true 3D, providing a path to combine data-driven mapping with truly three-dimensional display, allowing viewers to see information and events such as the breakup of Pangea with unprecedented perspective.

orbOff1024.jpgInspired by a desire to push persistence of vision displays into the third dimension, The Orb is an attempt to bridge the worlds of art and design by creating a beautiful object of inherent interest that also functions as a platform for display, whether artistic or information-oriented.

As such, The Orb is a step toward reestablishing the relevance of the globe as spherical object for increasing viewers' awareness and perspective on issues of worldwide significance, following in the footsteps of Buckminster Fuller's Geoscope proposal in 1962, which called for a 200 foot diameter sphere covered with ten million computer-controlled light sources to be suspended over the East River in full view of the United Nations.

By leveraging the efficiencies of persistence of vision, The Orb is able to produce about one quarter of one percent of the resolution of the Geoscope with less than one thousandth of one percent of the physical light sources. This efficiency will allow future iterations both to add full depth to the display and increase in scale.

Download a video of The Orb in action (Quicktime, 720p, 98MB, 1:00).
The Orb featured at TED2007 in Monterey, CA. See it.
Read more about The Orb at

The Orb
Ron Sears
James Nick Sears

Steel; Acrylic; Electromechanical Machinery; Microprocessor Controlled LED Lighting

Dimensions: 31"(79cm) H x 13.5"(34cm) W x 16.5"(42cm) D
Weight: 75 lbs(34kg)
Download in HD (Quicktime, 720p, 98MB, 1:00).