Interactive LightBoxes from Enlighter and Light Act

I got an email a little while ago from Mitja Prelovšek who runs the lighting website Enlighter.  (Sorry I haven’t posted this yet Mitja, I’m in just released software land!)  Enlighter did a project recently with interactive product called Light Act, which is pretty cool — imagine tracking a person as they walk past a store front, and allowing the lighting to literally interact with them as they realize they’re being entertained.  Now that is what I call outstanding!  I thought sticking a large pixellated box in front of a video display was pretty creative, this kinda just blew my mind and made me have a morning period of creativity!

Check this out:

From the video description:

Interactive LightBoxes is an interactive lighting installation using 1 reActor and 2 SmartView modules from LightAct system. These modules control 6 light boxes that through the interactivity draw people closer and invite them to interact and play with them. The message displayed on the light boxes gets across much more easily while the interactivity helps to save energy.

This is outstanding, and it’s not really that complicated!

The system itself is a motion tracking-type system that has some extra translators for lighting protocols other than DMX (like DALI for architecture and any pulse-width modulation signal stuff for homes and buildings), along with a software suite that allows you to either write your own code or use the software to set up your “interactivity barriers” as we would call them.  Check out a diagram of the system — opens up to 1024 pixels!

Awesome work, Mitja and the Enlighter crew!  Thanks for letting us know about your project!

Andika Pradana’s Skansen Visit Video – Blast from My Swedish Past!

Ah, Andika!  Your video really made me miss you guys, all of you!  Please share a hug from me to everybody that was there, because this video warmed up my heart for the whole day.  Thanks, brother!

So, JimOnLight.com Community, this video below was taken by Andika Pradana (an amazing photographer/videographer who has lots of imagery on Flickr, Facebook, and Vimeo) when I was in Stockholm at KTH in the fall.  Andika is in a group of photographers that I consider a Master of Captured Lumens – the man can capture light among the best.

Skansen is “the first open air museum and zoo in Sweden and is located on the island Djurgården in Stockholm, Sweden. It was founded in 1891 by Artur Hazelius (1833-1901) to show the way of life in the different parts of Sweden before the industrial era.”  It’s a pretty cool place – there were some amazing views of the harbor, Stockholm, and the architecture around the city from that island.  I have tons of pictures from my travels to that place, I just have to get unbusy for a weekend to sort them!

My KTH class was there observing some of the period structures and how people in those era (1750’s-1850’s) dealt with daylight and available light.  We did a lot of sketching in a particular structure assigned by group, and then compared our work to create a 3D representation of the “feeling” of the light in the room.  I’ll post pictures of that too, it was quite fun – myself, lovely Valeria Mirarchi, and everybody’s pal, Jonas Godehart.  You two are going to be working lighting designers soon, I am so proud of you!

Okay, enough rambling.  Check out Andika’s video!  He did a great job of capturing the entire project from start to finish:

Skansen (Daylighting Observation) from Andika Pradana on Vimeo.

Materials Testing Under Different Light Sources

Now that I am back home and not in Sweden, I have been combing through some of the work that I did in my first few months at KTH.  I took a lot of photographs of pretty much everything I could take photos of when I was in Sweden, and I got some interesting shots of a variety of things, including project work.

One of the first projects we did in groups was the Materials Testing project.  It was a very simple project with a goal more along the lines of working in groups that really much else – each group was to pick three “materials” out of a bin of random stuff in the lighting lab and take pictures of it under three of the different light sources in the lab’s light box.  The box was a shelf of chambers, each with a different light source in it – halogens, fluorescents, incandescents, oh my (et al):

lightbox

As a group, we analyzed each material under the sources we chose – an opal (frosted) incandescent (around 3,000 Kelvin), a Philips Activiva fluorescent source (at around 17,000 Kelvin, I think), and high-pressure sodium lamp (around 2400 Kelvin).  What our group wanted to do over other groups was to give the images we took representational names as opposed to descriptive modifiers with no artistic or intrinsic value.

I’ve listed the nine images below – I’ve also grouped them into material type, as it’s interesting to see the same material under three different sources in contrast.

First material:  an ellipsoidal reflector
Light sources, in order:  incandescent, HPS, Activiva
The image names we invented were based on the group’s collective emotional response to each material and light source.

“Loud Halo”
loud_halo_web

“Martian Effect”
martian_effect_web

“Deep Blue Eye”
deep_blue_eye_web

Second material:  a piece of gold and silver reflective material
Light sources, in order:  incandescent, HPS, Activiva

“True Fracture”
True_fracture_web

“Super Sodium”
supersodium_web

“Regal Death”
regal_death_web

Third material:  a wash reflector, stippled
Light sources, in order:  incandescent, HPS, Activiva

“White Desert”
White desert_web

“Golden Waffles”
golden_waffles_web

“Moon Waves”
moon_waves_web

Bye, Sweden!

shadow_skansen_jimonlight

Well, I’ve made a huge decision over the last few weeks.  I’ve decided to leave the KTH program and head back home to the United States to continue working on my design firm, Alive Lighting, and to keep writing JimOnLight.com full time.  It has been a great two months, and I have made so many great new friends that I will have forever – the relationships I made here in Sweden have enriched my life so much, and I will miss these people very much.

I’ve decided to leave the program at KTH because I don’t believe I’m being challenged.  Unfortunately, I don’t feel the education is advancing my academic and professional goals.  I’m not happy with that and, since this was a huge expense and commitment, I had to decide if staying for another eight months would pay off for me.  I’m very glad that I checked it out and am grateful for the opportunity to have done so.

I am so grateful for meeting the professors, seeing the beautiful Haninge KTH campus (which I’ll be posting some pictures of in coming weeks), and Stockholm is stunning.  I have new friends.  It’s been a great journey.  I can’t thank my lovely wife enough for her support, and all of the JimOnLight readers and Tweeters for their daily interaction.  It’s made me feel like home!

As of Thursday, I will be available for lighting design and consulting, and continuing to write JimOnLight every day.

Willem van der Sluis – Dutch Designer

willem-van-der-sluis

At the beginning of this month when we were participating in the “Lighting Machine” project and seminar, our class had the absolute pleasure of spending time learning from Willem van der Sluis – a product designer from Amsterdam.  Willem’s work extends into many product categories, from mobile phones to luminaires, to social structures.  Willem is a very gifted, talented designer – I feel we all learned a lot from his work with us during the weeklong seminar.

Willem’s design firm, Customr, is based in Amsterdam, and has an excellent repertoire of work.  Two of Willem’s most recent accomplishments are the Aircon luminaire that was produced by Luceplan (images below), and the SportDome, a project that Willem and his team created for the Dutch Department of Justice.  I have included some images and some video of Willem’s SportDome from Dutch Profiles, a design site that featured Willem recently.

The SportDomes project is an interesting project – they are essentially an exercise area for illegal aliens being held by the Dutch government.  When Willem lectured about this project in our class, he said that at first he wasn’t interested in designing anything for a jail, which frankly is completely understandable.  To design a structure that could give people being held against their will some form of pleasure in their confined day seems like a project for the cold hearted – but Willem created a structure that not only allows the inmates to play a little sports, but shields them from being scrutinized by outsiders.  The magical aspect of this dome is that at night, when it is illuminated, it is a diamond – a piece of beauty inside the terrible concept of criminality and imprisonment.

I hope you enjoy Willem’s work – it was a pleasure to get to know him a little, and to spend time learning what he had to teach.

Willem is also up for a Rotterdam Design Prize in 2009 – the winner is announced in late November.  Good luck Willem!  I voted for him, and you should too! (wink, wink)

sportdome1

sportdome2

sportdome3

The Aircon luminaire from Willem van der Sluis and Luceplan:

aircon1

aircon2

aircon3

aircon4

Make sure to check out Willem’s firm, Customr.

The Lighting Machine Project – “Happy Umbrella” at KTH

happy-umbrella-lighting-machine

Our class just finished the first module of study and our first major lighting project here at Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan in Sweden.  Our first module of classes has just finished – an introduction of sorts to the world of light and lighting and a good way to bring everyone in the program to a level playing ground, so to speak.  There is a huge range of backgrounds in our class, and the instructors have done  a great job providing information to level the field.

The first project, called the Lighting Machine project, was the culmination of a week-long seminar on working with Dutch designer Willem Van Der Sluis.  Willem was in residence with us for a week, mentoring us through this project along with faculty professor Diana Joels.  Willem gave us a great lecture on working with light and an in-depth look into a few of his projects.  I’ll be chronicling some of Willem’s work in a post later this week.

The basic principles of Lighting Machine was that each group was to create a full-scale lighting machine that focused on the distribution of light rather than on the beauty and form of the machine itself.  We were to analyze our campus building for places we felt had illumination problems, and create this lighting machine to aid in the solution of this problem.  I created a video to describe our project and problem, but we took a positive outlook on the “problem.”  On the lowest level of our building there is a hallway full of patio umbrellas that are lit with low temperature (around 2700 degrees Kelvin) fluorescent lighting.  It’s a place where people hang out all day at different times during the day, and we sought to make it more happy.  Hence, our group and lighting machine was called “Happy Umbrella.”  Check out a few pictures of the space and of the building:

kth-haninge-umbrellas

kth-haninge-umbrellas

Lighting Machine was an interesting project on many levels.  First, we were assigned into groups of four people, each with a different background – architecture, interior design, lighting design, electrical engineering, you name it.  The program is being administered in English, but there is a wide variety of comprehension of the English language.  The language barrier makes communication interesting.  Drawings and sketches – visual communication – sometimes take the place of verbal communication in these situations.  We chose a handful of locations with what we perceived as problems, and came to a consensus as to which project we all liked – which ended up being the umbrella location project.  In the creation of the lighting machine, we were also given the choice of two light sources – a 50W T5 circular fluorescent, or a 40W halogen PAR20.  We chose to use both.

A long story short, we decided to provide the location with a feel of nature – the umbrella representative of a tree with a pattern, and the table with better illumination and contrast, as the overhead fluorescents provided next to none.  We invented an optical projector with a homemade template out of miscellaneous pieces and parts of reflectors and lenses, and a wash-type unit from the fluorescent.  Happy Umbrella also incorporated both the umbrella and the table as part of the product.

I’ve embedded two videos below – the first is an overview of the project (about seven minutes long), and the second is a quick explanation of the projector for the class.  These videos were something I made for the heck of it, just for the blog.  I did use the projector explanation video in the presentation of the Lighting Machine as a way to help explain how a projector works.

Project Overview:

Projector Explanation Video:

Happy Umbrella from below:

happy-umbrella-lighting-machine2