Andrew Hazelden, used mikroC PRO for PIC to create Digital Persistence of Vision Spinning Display. He says that it was a weekend project to get the prototype running. The device is amazingly cool, because you have to spin the rope manually and to adjust the rotation speed in order to achieve the correct character display. And it looks just fantastic! Here'a the quote from Andrew's blog:
The Digital Poi Spinning device can write text, draw small icons, and display patterns as you spin it around. It works by encoding your visual data onto a series of 8 LEDs that are spun on a cord like a fire spinning poi. In one rotation there are roughly 600 virtual pixel positions. With 8 pixels on the Y axis, and 600 on the X (rotation) axis, there are 4,800 effective pixels in the display. The Digital Spinning Poi acts like an air display hovering in front of you due to the effect of persistence of vision.
He shared his PCB design schematics and source files, so you can download it and try for yourself.