Tag Archives: leds

Swarm Light

rAndom International unveiled xhibited “Swarm Light” (video and detail photo after the jump) at Design Miami / Basel last month. The installation consists of the three cubes of white LEDs. The LEDs are lit according to a flocking algorithm, and move in three dimensions around the cubes. Viewers can interact with the light by standing under the different cubes and by using sound to “scare” flock.

via matandme

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LED Sea Urchins

Evil Mad Scientist combined some LED throwies with sea urchin shells to create these interesting little lights. Throwies show up a lot on Make, probably because they’re brain dead simple, and like everything with LEDs, fun to look at. Wikipedia even lists some throwie derivatives.

I guess this means LEDs are the new candles. They’ve already taken over floaters, but at least the tea lights still have hot air balloons.

SmartLEDs

Jim Blackhurst’s SmartLED SolarTherm is a minimalist information display. Consisting of an RGB LED, a watch, and an ATTiny25 microcontroller. The chip contains a temperature sensor whose reading is displayed as light pulses. According the comments on Makezine, the internal temperature sensor is +/- 10 C (+/- 18 F), so its not very useful.

SolarTherm is simpar to M27’s Zach DeBord’s pummers. These charge a capacitor from a solar cell, and when the light level drops, the capacitor discharges, and causes an LED to blink.

While as an ambient displays these are visually interesting, especially Zach DeBord’s pummers, these seem to suffer from the main problem with all ambient displays. They trade simplicity for usefulness.

I want the display to be both pretty, but also informative. The display needs to be immediately interrogated. Similar to the how a grandfather clock provides a chime ever 15 minutes to an hour, but also can be viewed in order to learn the exact time. I’m thinking of something like Riedi and Gloor’s Weather Diorama.

Things like Nabaztag or the infinitely more endearing, Michael Kaminsky and Paul Dourish‘s SWEETPEA (aka “The Microsoft Barney Paper”) are more confusing than anything. Even baseball signs aren’t that confusing.

Maybe the best ambient display I’ve seen was simply a string hanging from a DC small motor wired directly into an ethernet cable. As packets would pass, the motor would be powered, causing the string to wiggle. As the network activity increased, so would the vigorousness of the string’s dancing. The great thing about this display is that it’s immediately and intuitively interpretable, while something more complex requires the user to learn some of sign language.

Garden for a Not Too Distant Future

Spanish art collective, Luzinterruptus latest creation, Jardín para un Futuro, No Muy Lejano (Garden for a Not Too Distant Future), is 110 clear plastic containers, each containing a few leaves and branches, along with a green LED.

The artist statement says that installation was a humorous statement about the lack of green space in modern cities; but given the frequency of their installations, I think that’s more just talk than anything.

Luzinterruptus weekly installations are a bit repetitive. For instance, “Jardín” is reminiscent of their December work, Naturaleza Contra Cristal (Nature Against Glass), where they placed green LEDs and tree clippings on the Madrid Metro elevators stations. Parallels to Graffiti Research Lab‘s LED Throwies and Goggin and Keehn’s The Language of Birds could also be made.

Yes, it’s repetitive. Yes, other people are doing the same thing, perhaps even better. But I’m a sucker for LEDs in the dark.

LED Tables


Alex Schlegel‘s Day Table uses a photoresistor located in one corner, and eight ShiftBars (for a total of 24 channels) connected to an Arduino to play back the sunlight that fell on the table during the course of the day.

Macetech built this table to demo their shiftbrite RGB LEDs and a Seeeduino. It’s a 9 x 9 grid, but since each LED has its own controller, the cost quickly climbs.


While not a table, Dave Clausen‘s LED Cylinder is a good resource for discussing how to wire up set of addressable RGB LEDs, along with some good resources to parts and the like.

Recently I’ve been thinking about a LED displays. Originally, I was thinking about a full 640 x 480 display, but after doing the math, that idea quickly shrank to a more manageable 32 x 24 display. While part of me thinks that having one of these tables would be interesting, I can’t help but think that in reality they’d just be ugly and too bright.

I started to think about LED displays because my “coffee table” (It’s actually more an end table.) has a glass top and holes cut out in the back for electrical cables to pass through. What I really want is a multitouch display like either of these two guys are building. However, a multitouch is still pretty hacky and more DIY than I want right now. I like the idea of owning one of these tables, I just don’t want to build it.

La Vitrine’s LED Wall

Lighting artists, the Moment Factory installed on the front wall of Montreal’s La Vitrine theater a full length interactive LED display. Made up of hellalot of RGB leds, the patterns react to people as they pass on the street.

Moment Factory designed the lighting effects for Nine inch Nails‘s (w00t) 2008 Lights in the Sky tour. There’s a video of them talking about the effects on the tour, and how they were controlled from the stage rather than pre-scripted like stage effects normally are, but a combination of flash and their website being in flux have foiled me. Still, if you like effects and/or NIN, find the video. It’s not that long.

Previously. Previously.

Another video after the jump.

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