In May of 2011, the Massachusetts Avenue bridge in Cambridge was brought to life with a dynamic interactive LED array (see video above). The 10,000 pixel display is activated by sensors (proximity sensors, cameras, buttons, microphones, mobile phones) that respond to the movement and activities of viewers in the area. By combining sensors and programmable lighting, the project illustrates the potential for blurring the boundaries between traditional city lighting and the responsive infrastructures of tomorrow. (Description adapted from post in the PanasonicElec blog.)
The project is being set up again this winter as part of the FIGMENT Lights festival on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The Collaborative Electronic Mixed Media Institute (CEMMI), under the direction of Dan Taub (who worked on the original LightBridge project) will be installing "The Blueway": from January 19 to March 21, lighting in the dry streambed of Chinatown Park will echo the feel and motion of water, and passers-by will create ripples in the display through motion sensors. Through this class, you can be a part of the programming team for the installation!
In the first session, students will be given basic instruction in the Python programming language used to run the MIT Lightbridge (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd__3aq29DA&feature=related). The next three sessions will be interactive hack time, where students will be given free reign to develop their own scripts and test them on the lights. The last class will be presentations, and functional scripts will be demoed in the "Blueway" exhibit.
Students will learn:
- the basics of LED light technology
- how to leverage existing libraries for light control
- how to write simple Python scripts
Some prior programming experience recommended but not mandatory.
Students should come prepared with their own computers, preferably with Python installed (but we will help install for anyone without). One or two may be available if necessary, but prior arrangements should be made with CEMMI.
Daniel Taub is an inventor, engineer, interface designer, and lighting enthusiast who finished his Master’s in EECS at MIT in 2009. He has created both traditional and multi-modal interfaces, including a 6-DOF optical pen compatible with SecondLight, high-speed statistical analysis and report-generating software, affordable low-resolution eye-tracking goggles, mesh-networked location-aware badges, neural pathway-inspired distributed music engine for a sensate soccer ball, and countless GUIs. He started doing lighting design and light board operation concurrently with acting in high school, and has since created desktop, web, joystick/touchpad, accelerometer, shell-script, touch screen, and audio-controlled light-scripting engines. Most recently, he assisted with the MIT 150th anniversary arts festival, working on the Lightbridge project which connected Boston with Cambridge with light across the Massachusetts Avenue bridge. Daniel has been a freelance developer for more than 10 years and is involved with the MIT Media Lab as well as numerous start-ups, including Ginkgo Bioworks, SaikoLED, and Darwin Ecosystems. He is a daily yoga practitioner and fathered a charming toddler who also loves to play with lights.
Session 1: Tuesday, February 7, 7:30PM - 9:30PM
Session 2: Tuesday, February 14, 7:30PM - 9:30PM
Session 3: Tuesday, February 21, 7:30PM - 9:30PM
Session 4: Tuesday, February 28, 7:30PM - 9:30PM
When & Where
Artisan's Asylum, Inc.
Artisan's Asylum is a community fabrication and makerspace near Union Square, Somerville MA, that is dedicated to making creativity a way of life. It does this by maintaining a community workshop, training its members in the use of all of its professional-grade equipment, and hosting events promoting the learning and practicing of craft and creative expression.