Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Studio Work

Testing servo torque

In a bit of suprise, the LED drivers that were supposedly backordered for a month arrived! I worked on connecting everything together, soldering leads to the LED's and getting everything connected. Still waiting on some thermal paste so I can start testing it!
Manipulating Light

These two studies show how we can change light by also changing the parameters of the material the light reveals.

Light gives all life caracter and it is the single element that defines spacial conditions. By manipulating the light in different ways, we manipulate space.

These two studies are of the skin system "flexing" and responding to it's surrounding.

The goal is to have our system flex and become responsive to human interaction

Forming a Skin

Creating a Skin

Through the use of the led's and a reponsive system that interacts with its viewiers, Our team' goal is to formulate a "pattern" or system of some type that can not only manipulate the hight intensity light given off by the led's but also change the spacial parameters and feeling of the space.

My group looks to this precidence to the left, a painting of a pin cone. The pin cone is so rich in texture, dymention and its over all composure in it self, but when we start to "peel" back the layers and seperate the individual pieces the pattern or overall parameters change and make us think differently about the element


Most of the parts I ordreed have come in. One of the coolest parts I got were the Texas Instruments 5940. I hooked up some LED's to it and recordered this short test. The chip goes through and blanks each channel for a couple of milliseconds.

rhino and lighting

For the past 2 weeks, I have done 4 rhino tutorials and helped Doll with basic wiring for the LEDs. I feel like I know enough now to start applying rhino more freqently and hopefully incorporate it with our final wall project. Also, I believe Derek has brought some materials to experiment with. We will look at those materials, and how to combine them with the LEDs this upcoming week.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Building the code

Software is where all of the excitement in our wall comes from

The code will have 4 parts

1. Setup Arduino ports
2a. Set up base colors based on rheostat input, light sensor
2b. Serial import of values from a PC
3. Gather proximity sensor input
4. Modify base values based on sensors

now to start writing the code...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Electronics Update

My task for the last two weeks has been to figure out how to build the interactive lighting system for the wall. We want to be able to light each segment of the wall independently so that the wall will react as people walk by it.

To detect the people we are using ultrasonic proximity sensors spaced every two feet along the wall to create a series of zones that we can use to detect where people are in front of the wall. We are using the maxbotics lv-ez3 sensors which have about a 2 foot beam width. If a single sensor detects a object than it means some one is standing directly in front of it. If two adjacent sensors both detects an object, it means that someone is standing between 2 sensors. Multiple people standing in front of the wall will create some from very dynamic patterns.

The LED are going to be mounted on a strip along either the top or bottom of the wall. It's cheaper to use a separate led for each color instead of using a RGB led like we were experimenting with before. This is a very common method used in professional led stage lighting. We will have a cluster of 4 leds: a red, green, blue and white placed every 6 inches. They will be controlled in pairs so we can have different qualities of light (color, brightness) every foot along the wall.

High powered leds are very expensive from US suppliers but they tend to be brighter, more energy efficient and last longer. For us poor college students, we need a cheaper solution. The Chinese are very good at making cheaper versions of everything, and guess what? They make LED's too. They may not be as good but for the price difference, they will be good enough. I ordered 64 High powered 3Watt LED's from a Chinese company I discovered looking on eBay. The LED's are currently on their journey to the US. It takes about 2 weeks for things to arrive via cheap post.

To power the LEDs I need 32 led Drivers - one for each color in each 1 foot segment. I liked the ones I had bought for our led demo lamp so I ordered 32 more. However they are currently backordered about 3 weeks. The company said they would be able to get them to me by the middle of April when I must have them for assembly. They offered to send me some of their older model, but they aren't nearly as energy efficient (they lack a voltage step down chip and use resistors instead). I've looked around and haven't found anything I think will work better. The led driver is really only 4 parts so we might be able to build them ourselves....

To control the drivers, I need even more chips. The drivers have a sense input that can read pwm output from an Ardiuno. The problem is that the Arduino only has 6 pwm outputs and the mega has 14; not nearly enough for 32 channels I need. The solution is to use a chip that can interface with the arduino that has more pwm output. The best documented chip for this is the tlc5940. It takes serial input and has 16 channels of pwm output and you can daisy chain 10+ chips for all of your pwm needs. There is great arduino library written for them that makes using them almost painless. they come in DIP form so you can use them on breadboard. I have two on order and they should be here next week!

Next step is getting stuff wired together.
This week I plan on soldering wires on all of the proximity sensors and getting them tested. there are some issues that may arise with them picking up each others sound pulses but it can alternating back and forth which ones are pulsing.

Once the tlc chips arrive I plan on doing a small scale test using small rgb leds on breadboard and getting the code sorted out so I don't have to worry about it later when the led drivers finally arrive.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010



Creating an interactive surface that responds to human interaction.
The goal being that the wall system is almost inviting in a sense that it opens up and becomes "welcoming" in a sense.

By allowing the LED Lights to shin through the perforated skin, it creates an embracing effect, in return giving the wall some type of anthropomorphic character. The skin will then take on an almost human characteristic in the sense that it expands and contracts, along the same line that the human lung does or the inflation of many different objects found in nature..

The main idea being this system FLEXS and BREATHS in a sense that it interacts with human experience.

This week, my focus was studying how platic can connect and interesting ways of its use. Here are a few precidents of my study.

Developing a Pattern

Studying the precidence and Ideals behind weaving a pattern or creating a system, one could use the idea of a basket as a system.

When the pattern is colse it would be unperferated, but once interacted with the pattern becomes open and accepting to the human interaction the wall is responding to.

The idea being that the wall is inviting in a way and accepting by producing light for its respondent.

The pattern, however, used for the wall can be infinite. There needs to be some sort of pattern created whether this is created out play or a linear thought and development.

Posted: a pattern created through CAD inwhich can move and interact. Open and close.


The wall system will be composed of mainly our LED lights combined with some type of responsive skin. The skin definition can be defined on many precidence. The main features of the skin is to be composed of a formulated pattern that can be derived using rhino or katia. The pattern that need be developed must be able to be assembled in a way in which it is broken down into one simple guestur or form. A single piece or element that is repedative in nature and would allow for the form to develop into a complex interperation.

The precidence or thought be hind this "pattern" or composition would be thought of in such a way as a basket weave or chain mail maybe with the main idea that the wall is completely CLOSED when flat, but inwhich it can become perforated once it response to human interaction.

The idea being that the wall has a type of hue or glow to it, but once responded, it becomes open and perforated allowing the light to penetrate.

This is turn creates a new level of dynamic with the light and a new way of experiencing the Skin.


Through the use of our purchased LEDs, the goal of our system would be to try to manipulate and experience the artificial light in various ways.
I feel that the "wall" should create an interaction, an experience when one approaches. A driving concept of our system would be to have the wall acknowledge the on looker and interact with upon the presence of a passer by.
Through the use of range finders, pictured at top, our wall can create an interaction, a life, a play between the person experiencing the light and the wall itself.
I believe that through this use the wall can in a sense FLEX and BREATH in response to a humanistic presence. By creating a system that not only illuminates but "stretches" the LEDs can be experienced in a unique way, one that invokes the idea of life.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Light Studies

Comp 5

Comp 4

Comp 3

Comp 2

Comp 1

Posted are some studies on translucency - Particularly Plastic.

The main driver of our project is to create a surface that can manipulate the light, or LEDs in this case, so that it can give the wall a new feeling, texture, feature, language, pattern, and definition.

The goal way to create a translucent surface that would define the light in a variety of ways. In this case, melting the plastic over a form that was digitally created using rhino, we were able to construct a shape that would create a dynamic interaction with the light source.