For Christmas one of my gifts was a MiniPOV3 kit from Adafruit Industries.
I must comment that the kit came with everything needed except for the solder and went together beautifully. There were no instructions shipped with the kit other then the outside sticker directing you to the website but the website had everything you need to put it together including a picture tutorial that might even be a bit too verbose.
It went together wonderfully and worked on the first try. When you first put it together all the LED’s do is blink sequentially but after reading through the software instructions I was able to easily program it to do my bidding.
Included with the firmware are a few different programs to get you started but most are the same just with different messages attached. You can use one of the handy message generators online to create a custom message or just grab a piece of graph paper and figure it out on your own.
There are a few interesting things in the forums. One guy managed to add a mercury switch to the device making the text change directions depending on how you wave the device. Another has provided the Commodore 64 font to help generate messages.
I did have problems trying to get the software working in Ubuntu but I’ll admit I didn’t give it much of a try. The windows installer provided worked perfectly on one of my other computers.
If you have some soldering skills and a spare serial port I’d highly recommend this kit. It’s a fun little device that introduces microcontroller programming quite well.