Curving LED Video Displays

May 3, 2006

Light-emitting diode (LED) video displays captivate audience attention for branding, advertising, and entertainment. They add to environment aesthetics while boasting ultramodern technology.

Unlike LCD, plasma, and other traditional display media, LED displays offer the capability of curves and 3-D design, giving signage another eye-catching component.

Custom-built curved and 3-D displays, however, have their own challenges. Curves need to be smooth and flow. Because square modules construct LED displays, making the modules fit into a bend requires advanced engineering knowledge.

Daktronics, the world's leading manufacturer of LED video displays, has extensive experience manufacturing custom displays, including several curved video displays. It is included on the elite list of one-of-a-kind spectaculars - Mall at Millenia, Radio Shack, and Coca-Cola.

Mall at Millenia
Forbes Co. and Taubman Co. developed the Mall at Millenia in Orlando, FL,, and worked with architecture firm JPRA. Daktronics helped these three entities create a circle of independent displays representing the Neolithic majesty of Stonehenge transformed into an electronic celebration of American consumerism.

Daktronics manufactured 12 freestanding ProStar's LED video displays to encircle the Grand Court, the epicenter of the entertainment and retail space. Each display towers 30 feet in the air and measures 10-feet-high by 4-feet-wide with a 40-degree arc.

Because the displays hang in the open air and are viewable from behind, as well as the display face, cosmetic appearance of the entire display was a concern. The rear surface needed to be as smooth and as aesthetically pleasing as the hood of an automobile.

During the manufacturing and installation process, Daktronics paid close attention to the rear display curve to make it as smooth as possible. Daktronics used auto body filler to hide weld marks and metal splices to make the display look like one continuous, formed piece.

The vertical, concave-curved LED face was a first for a Daktronics video display. The LED display surface had to be continuous, giving images on the display a flawless look, much as they would appear on a flat screen surface. Daktronics paid special attention to the individual LED modules during the design and manufacturing process to ensure an absence of seams from module to module.

Due to the nature of the indoor shopping environment, Daktronics also engineered the displays to be quieter, eliminating unnecessary ambient noise.

The resulting dynamic video system gives Mall at Millenia an upscale, entertaining, and informative environment for its patrons.

Radio Shack
Radio Shack hired Creative Realities Inc. to develop a distinctive experience for visitors to the flagship store at its corporate headquarters in downtown Fort Worth, TX. Architects planned to incorporate a dynamic display system within the building's rotunda, creating a sensory phenomenon, including crisp, vivid video display content, and theatrical lighting and sound that helped convey Radio Shack's dominance in the consumer electronics market.

Radio Shack and Creative Realities envisioned the video portion as a circular LED video display that lined the interior circumference of the rotunda. To implement this vision, Radio Shack and Creative Realities looked to Daktronics.

Daktronics produced a circular ProStar LED display measuring 4-feet-high by 22 feet in diameter. The display needed to fit exactly within the 65-foot circumference of the rotunda; the LED face also needed to look seamless and have an even curve.

Daktronics engineered the display to have the same radius and curve as the structure, making sure it would fit into the opening provided by the architects.

The display shipped from the factory in eight sections. At the construction site, the sections were assembled together on the ground and then lifted into place 6 inches at a time with material lifts. Once in place, the display was bolted to the structure.

With Daktronics' advanced LED video control system on the front end, the display's imagery looks brilliant and flawless.

The innovative display system reflects Radio Shack's reputation as the specialty retailer to turn to for the latest consumer technology products and services.

Coca-Cola Spectacular
Coca-Cola's vision for a new spectacular at its #2 Times Square location went beyond the typical flat video screen. Coca-Cola wanted an electronic sculpture with an even video surface.

The company worked with Winston & Co. consultants, and together they presented Daktronics with a shape that resembled a deconstructed soda can divided into separate sections by distinctive black divisions. The puzzle-like concept contained organically shaped pieces fitting loosely together to create a buoyant and hip visual aspect.

Daktronics presented to Coca-Cola numerous ways to configure the display with a cohesive and unified image that met the combination of artistic and technical demands.

One demand involved the sign's gaps. Because the display was not one solid construction, Daktronics took special care to ensure that the LEDs lined up correctly. If the LEDs from the different display sections were askew in relation to one another, the display image would look disjointed.

The manufacturing plant used special jigs to secure the sections. To ensure the display pieces fit together correctly, the plant used templates of section tops to align with the bottoms of adjoining sections as they were being built.

Daktronics engineered the cabinet to have a cohesive LED face and built each display section on a special level platform to maintain accuracy in the curvatures.

To give the border curves a smooth flow, Daktronics developed a new quarter module to populate the sides of the LED display face. To further smooth the curve, Daktronics shrouded edges of the square border modules. On the control side, Daktronics developed a software "mask" to manage the LEDs and further smooth the jigsaw edge.

The end result fulfilled Coca-Cola's vision and continues its prominent legacy in Times Square. Even when the display is turned off, it appears to be in motion. The display shape and content work together to draw consumers' attention.

As these projects demonstrate, curved LED displays bring power and impact to creative spaces. Daktronics offers the technical expertise and experience to make these impressive displays stand out.

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