Tyler Nehowig, an Electrical Engineering graduate from the University of Minnesota has launched a Kickstarter project to fund his smart Nixie tube design idea. He has mounted a single Nixie tube together with all its control and driver hardware onto a small PCB. The resulting module has connectors along the board edges to make it sideways stackable so it’s a simple job to expand the display as necessary. A nice 21st Century touch is the RGB LED shining up through the tube base to give programmable accent or background light.
According to Tyler “The Smart Nixie Tube is the most open source, flexible Nixie Tube display in the world. It is fully programmable using the unmodified Arduino IDE, and appears as an Arduino Uno running at 16 MHz, 5V. The Smart Nixie Tube was created to fill the gap that all other Nixie Tube displays create by allowing unlimited digit length — from one digit to as many as your project requires. Adding more digits is as easy as connecting headers together. You can chain Smart Nixie Tubes together and control them from anything with a Serial Port. Examples include connecting it to a Raspberry Pi to pull in sports scores, the current temperature, or the current time and date.”
Each module consumes 300 mA at 9 VDC. The $5,000 target has yet to be reached but the campaign has only just been launched. If all goes to plan we should start to see deliveries by March.