pixels             …everywhere.

Tag: digital light

pixels on the pathway

by on Dec.07, 2011, under architecture

Way back in July, I wrote about Digital Light… showing the way.  In that posting, I talked about intelligent outdoor  lighting that would know where we are, where we wanted to go, and would help show us how to get there. And, it would save energy at the same time.

A site in London (the City of Westminster, to be more precise) designed by Jason Bruges Studio is part way there as you can see from the video below from Bruge’s website. He treats this as art and well he should, saying:

“The artwork responds to the different speeds, rhythms and concentration of people in the alley, and a flowing pattern of light is built up in the passageway which reflects the recent movement.”

But at the same time, it’s lighting, too. He goes on to say:

“White LED uplights, recessed into the paving, increase in intensity as people pass by causing a rippling wave of light to move through the passageway tracing their movement. When there are no pedestrians the lights dim to a low brightness to save energy while also providing a safe level of illumination.”

I like this a lot. It’s art. It’s functional. It’s smart about energy. It’s responsive. Now imagine what could be done with color and with a lot more pixels.

Check out his website. The studio has some really interesting pixels everywhere projects include Mimosa for Philips using Lumiblade LEDs.


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Seeing differently with pixels everywhere

by on Sep.26, 2011, under art, musings

I worry about what all these pixels will be used for. I mean, pixels everywhere is a lot of pixels if they’re really going to be everywhere, right? I’ve come across two people who are thinking about what pixels can do on a large scale.

Architect Greg Tran (subject of a future post) is exploring new ways of seeing the world as it might be. British artist David Hockney points to new ways to see the world as it is. There was a recent article in Technology Review by Martin Gayford about Hockney’s work in this area.

He writes about an array 18 HD displays (about 35 million pixels, which is a lot of pixels, I’m sure you’ll agree). The content was recorded on 9 cameras. Each half of the display shows the same moving scene but slightly displaced in time.

So what? Well, with this simple idea,  the viewer can see the scene as is it and as it just was. Or, thinking differently, you can effectively see the scene as it is, and at the same time see what it soon will be. That’s definitely is not how we look at the world now.

David Hockney is a renowned artist and the Technology Review article looks at this work in that light. It is indeed potentially beautiful and enlightening. It’s also something potentially important as a new way of visualization. Imagine this beyond a puny 18 screens, but at room scale or larger.

Hockney is looking at ‘everywhere’ differently. How many other exciting new ways will there be to view the world when there really are unlimited pixels available everywhere?

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ArduinoArts’ “Annoying Ikea Lamp” project

by on Sep.20, 2011, under fun, furniture, technology

Last month I blogged about the LuminAR project underway at MIT. Recently on the Hack A Day website I  came across a decidedly low-tech similar project by the folks at Arduino Arts.

Recall that LuminAR combined a pico-projector and camera with control electronics and firmware to achieve a gesture-based digital lamp. Arduino Arts just focused on the controlling a simple desk lamp, but they achieved something that is eerily similar to well-known Pixar animation. Take a look at the YouTube video to see for yourself.

The “annoying” term comes from their website. I think a better word would be “intriguing” because there are so many possibilities.

Now if they could put a pico-projector inside the lamp, and add a camera, well then they would be awfully close to creating something people would recognize as digital light. If LuminAR looked more like this it would be even cooler than it already is.

These guys based their project around the Arduino processor. There are a huge number of people creating projects using the open-source / open-hardware Arduino platform. It’s grown far beyond a cult — it’s a full grown movement. I confess to having a few Arduinos in my lab at home. Google “arduino” and you’ll get many,  many hits.

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by on Aug.24, 2011, under furniture, research, technology

One of my earliest posts (way back in June) was Seeing the (digital) light. In it, I mentioned one of my early ideas was to use picoprojectors as digital light sources for interactive, responsive, desk lamps and room lighting.

Seeing the (digital) light

Other people have been thinking about responsive light and it should be no surprise that one of those people is at MIT Medialab. Natan Linder has a project called LuminAR that uses a picoprojector as a digital bulb. He combines that with a camera system and a robotic arm and cool things happen… gesture based interaction, lighting, pixel modulation  —digital light!

Natan Linder's LuminAR project

Watch his video below and see for yourself. It’s not pretty –it’s a proof of concept, after all — but I think it’s beautiful!

Pixels everywhere.

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Screens are prison cells for pixels..

by on Aug.23, 2011, under technology

“Screens are prison cells for pixels” … paraphrased  from a YouTube video by Natan Linder of the LuminAR project at MIT Medialab.

He gets it. Pixels should be everywhere. Vive les pixels libre!

More about LuminAR soon.

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Pixels Big Enough to Float On

by on Aug.23, 2011, under architecture, art

Earlier this month I wrote about”Pixels Big Enough to Hug” which generated a lot of interest. I came across a similar giant pixel project called “Light Drift” by Boston’s Howeler+YoonArchitecture. It was shown in  October 2010 in Philadelphia and again in Boston in May 2011.

"light drift" in Philadelphia

Pixels (they call them ‘orbs’) were in the river and on the shore. All of the pixels had blue and green LEDs inside them. Pixels on the shore communicated with pixels in the water, and pixels on the water also communicated with each other. The Architects Library blog has more detail. Quoting from that blog:

“Light Drift creates an atmosphere, a field of lights that transform in color and intensity based on the public interaction with it. The resting state of the field is a constant state of green. When a visitor approaches a land orb, the orb will start an “enticement mode” by pulsing between blue and green. If a visitor sits on the orb, the pulsing will transition to a blue state. The water orbs that align with the land orb will change colors at the same time, creating a linear extension of blue lights in the water. Because the orbs are arranged on a diagonal grid, the lines of lit orbs will form a series of intersecting lines in the field. The intersection of lines of lit orbs in the water will encourage different people interacting with the orbs to also interact with each other.”

 Very nice. There are a lot more photos on flickr. Now if one could only fully control each orb’s color…. it shouldn’t be too hard to do that! Pixels in more and more places — pixels everywhere!


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Pixels around us. Pixels on us.

by on Aug.18, 2011, under laser

A repeated theme of this blog is ‘pixels everywhere’ …not just everywhere around us but even everywhere on us. We’re fast becoming part of the digital canvas.

VeinViewer -pixels on skin

For example, there’s been a lot of work in using digital light to illuminate our bodies for medical purposes. One excellent  example I’m very familiar with is Christie’s VeinViewer.

I recently came across two other interesting examples on the MicroVision blog (MicroVision has an interesting scanning

pixels on patient

laser technology). In one example, Stanford grad student Andrew Holbrook combined a MicroVision picoprojector with a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system. The MRI output is painted directly onto the patient as shown on this picture from the MicroVision blog. Impressive.

In the other example, researchers in Bern, Switzerland have built a small handheld device with a MicroVision projector built-in. The idea is to project details of a human organ directly on the organ itself to aid surgeons. From an illustration on the blog posting, it looks to me like the orientation of the device is detected by markers on the device and this is used to adjust the projected image accordingly. If so, this would be different from the VeinViewer which incorporates a camera to directly image the skin. Whatever method is used, though, applying digital light to illuminate and inform doctors will become more and more important.

pixels on organs

Laser light, as used by MicroVision, is capable of staying in focus over a very long range of distances which is useful for imaging on irregular surfaces like these.

Let me know of any other examples of this sort of use of digital light, dear readers!


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