You don’t need much to do a persistence of vision display. A few LEDs and a processor is all it really takes. [B45i] made a simple PC board with five LEDs and an ATtiny CPU. There’s a battery and it connects to a fan to spin around.
While the project is pretty simple, we liked two aspects of it. First, he provides very detailed explanations about how to use an Arduino to program the Tiny using the Arduino IDE.
The other item of interest is the two web applications that can build arrays of data for the POV display easily. Examining the code is instructive, too, because of the use of bit coding and enumerations to save space.