Arduino, Processing
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Light Kinetics – Interactive light using a physics simulator

Created by Madrid based creative studio Espadaysantacruz, Light Kinetics is an interactive light installation where the behaviour of light is controlled by a physics simulator.

Comprised of 78 tungsten bulbs connect to a rack of 4 channel DMX dimmers, the installation is controlled by a physics simulator built with Unity3D. A piezo electric sensor situated in the first bulb captures the force of a tap, generating a light particle that moves along the loop. The initial impulse is regulated by the strength of the tap, creating a very natural interaction. When one hits hard light moves fast and can overcome the force of gravity, when one hits the bulb softly light falls slowly along the loop.

Light, as we usually see it, is an element that lacks mass, to treat it under the laws of gravity is somehow magical. The laws that describe the behaviour of light are hardly understandable because it neither behaves as body or as a wave. As Einstein wrote concerning the wave-particle duality: “We have two contradictory pictures of reality; separately neither of them fully explains the phenomena of light, but together they do”. In this project, we have built a computer simulator that reduces this extraordinary phenomenon to the simple classical mechanical laws.

The team used Arduino to capture the impulse and Processing to interface between Unity and the dimmers. The installation uses 20 DMX 4ch dimmers, piezoelectric sensor, and oscP5 to interface with Unity and proDMX.

The project is a follow up of the following two experiments: one / two (see below)

Project PageEspadaysantacruz

Light Kinetics_03