Csoma's Wheel

Prayer wheel powered LED display in the Himalaya

New media installation in Sándor Kőrösi Csoma’s(?) sanctuary.

Flashing prayer-wheel: pieces of a bicycle and concrete, in a place where even Lara Croft couldn’t get to. In Ladakh, a region of the Himalayas, Kitchen Budapest, a technology focused media lab, has prepared a relatively low-tech installation: Csoma’s wheel. This installation is appalling and unique both in its material and in its form.

We took prayer-wheels as basis and built a structure, which mixes tradition with innovation. With this, KIBU manifests again how an exciting request can be complied. (Although the goal of the makers was the reconsideration of the prayer-wheel, Csoma’s wheel represents contrast with its ambience.) Now, in the ravaged Csoma sanctuary standing installation covers electronic arts, experience of motion pictures and the tradition of prayer-wheels. Csoma’s wheel is the first “new media treasure” of the Himalayas.

The site, Csoma's sanctuary

This installation signifies the connection between Hungary, Zangla, Sándor Kőrösi Csoma and the architectects renovating, larding with Kitchen’s cast of mind. With the aspect of respecting tradition, this project is the revelation of honor on the researcher. We believe that this structure will make the place even more appealing to visitors from other countries.

Trying the explain what the hell this is to the local authority

How does it work?

We built the wheel from bicycle pieces, LEDs and light-conducting concrete displays.
The spinning of the wheel generates enough electricity to power a strip of LEDs. The light lands in the optical filaments containing concrete display, where the spectacle sets to a picture.

The basic concept - spin a drum full of holes on its surface, which are encoded animation frames.

Use bicycle parts for easy maintenance

This is a screenshot our our encoding Processing.org based software that generated PDF prints.

The light translator fiberoptic+concrete element

What happens inside, is that each pixel on the screen part has a corresponding hole on the right vertical 'pickup' connected by fiberoptic cables. This was, we can encode a 2D movie frame into a single vertical line - which becomes a vertical column of pixels on the drum.

And this is how it looks when operated:

Csoma's Wheel from KIBU on Vimeo.

The delivery was not that simple in the end...

But we got enthusiastic help

Our wheel installed at its final location

The wheel's first turns at our lab


For more information and news please visit
Csoma's Room website
Csoma's Wheel flickr page
Csoma's Room flickr page


Participating researchers
Robin Nagy, Adam Somlai-Fischer, Ágoston Nagy (stc), Bence Samu, Dávid Lakatos, Tamás Bagi

Production help
Szakal Bros., Concrete + fiberoptic element was manufactured by Litracon

Adventourous delivery and reportage
Andras Földes (Index.hu)