In addition to my "official" Maker Faire Detroit project, I created a giant VU meter for the after party.
It's powered by a Velleman mono VU meter kit. This is the same kit Eli Skipp used for her VU meter scarf. I replaced the single LED outputs with opto-isolators which provide a 12V signal to the segments.
The segments are made of masonite and frosted acrylic, connected by 1/4-20 threaded rod. I used 12V LED strip lighting, and each segment has 18 LEDs on it. There is also an aluminized mylar shroud around each segment to reflect stray light back in. With the shroud on, it's very bright, even in an artificially lit room.
Special thanks to the following awesome people who helped me with design and construction: Paul K, Sean D, Joe B, Becky T, Mike B, Roger S, Nate B, Ted H, Nick B. And of course, it was made at i3 Detroit!
This is just a preview, I'll be doing a full writeup soon!