The IEEE Spectrum website has published an interesting article which provides a detailed look at how you can create a Nixie tube effect on your next project by using a “Lixie” displays which provide a similar effect to Nixie tubes that are easier to set up and use. Lixie displays are made from layers of transparent glass or plastic etched with numbers or characters. To create the Lixie clock David Schneider purchased four ready-made assemblies from Nishijima priced at $38 each on the Tindie website.
The Lixie display function by shining light through the edge of clear acrylic. When the light hits an engraving or edge, it scatters in a different direction, and lands in your eye. This allows the flat surfaces of the acrylic to stay clear, and have only edges light up. The displays consist of 10 sheets in a stack each marked with a different number.
Thanks to the Lixie being based on WS2812B LEDs or Neopixels which Adafruit calls them, the displays are capable of emitting any colour and displaying data and time, temperature and humidity, website views, YouTube views or anything else you can think of thanks to its Arduino support.
To create connections to the Lixie tubes you simply need to connect the 5V & GND pins to your Arduino’s and connect the “DIN” pin to any of your digital pins. From there, it’s just a matter of including the Lixie library and simple functions. For full instructions jump over to the Tindie or the IEEE Spectrum websites by following the links below.