The University of Southampton

Southampton student lights up embedded systems competition with dynamic bike wheel display

Published: 29 January 2021
Caption: Richard Carter’s bike-mounted PoV display displays custom images from a linked app.

University of Southampton student Richard Carter has drawn praise in a national electronics competition for a spinning on-bike light display.

Richard and his Persistence of Vision (PoV) display have been named the runner-up in the UK Electronic Skills Foundation (UKESF) Embedded Systems Competition sponsored by UltraSoC.

The achievement immediately follows the University’s strong performance in the 2019 contest, where Southampton’s Yanislav Donchev and Torran Green claimed the top two prizes.

A PoV display renders an image to the human eye by spinning and switching on and off a series of radial strips of LEDs fast enough that the brain considers the full circle to be a solid image.

Richard designed, created and trialled the light display as part of his MEng Electronic Engineering degree to exhibit a choice of images from the spokes of a bicycle wheel.

"My goal was to design a product that improves the safety of cyclists in the dark, providing a lightweight active light source that shines left and right relative to the cyclist," he explains. "In addition, the ability to display custom images uploaded from an app introduces some entertainment value to using the light.

"I thoroughly enjoyed designing and working on my project so the opportunity to be recognised for the success I achieved is especially rewarding. As with many embedded systems, there are many things from my project that I would like to improve on, and I have already started working on the next iteration of my PoV Bike Wheel Display. My thanks go to UltraSoC and UKESF for sponsoring, organising, and judging the competition."

Richard has boosted his career prospects as a UKESF Scholar. The scheme, which supported a record-breaking number of Southampton students in 2020, offers a £1,000 annual bursary and paid work placements with mentoring from a leading employer in the electronics sector.

Richard completed his sponsored internship as a System Validation Engineer with Qualcomm remotely over the summer.

A prominent member of the ECS Society (ECSS), he has shared his passion during his degree as one of the organisers of the Microhack hackathon, which gave students hands-on experience with microcontroller boards and sample hardware.

Professor Geoff Merrett, Director of Outreach and Recruitment at Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), says: "Many congratulations to Richard, it's great to see Southampton students being successful in the UKESF Competitions yet again. This is a testament to the excellent quality of our students, and particularly in the domain of embedded systems."

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