Light and Interactivity

For the Light and Interactivity final, Koji and I teamed up and decided to do something on the floor. After much iterations of ideas all the way from turning lights off based off the concept of "load-shedding" to Alexa turning lights off to using the Enertiv API to control the lights - we went through a lot of reconsiderations.

Finally, we decided to make a light piece/sconce/structure that added aesthetic value to a dull part of the floor and depicted energy consumption whilst doing that!

This later made me realize that it is as much a Data Art project as it is a Light and Interactivity project!

Koji decided to take control of the tech aspect but soon we realized that this project probably needed more designing and lighting design thought so we both got on board to make things. Having experimented with materials the entire semester helped up-speed the process of designing an abstract ceiling piece which would reflect light off a strong floor light and create caustics. We used materials we found on the floor.

Our second part was a magic window which would change colors as an indication of the energy consumption for the previous week. We started off with philips hue bulbs as clip lights mounted on a cardboard prototype of the window.

We changed to colored bulbs since that would help in the data indication.

Observations and Iterations...

After the brainstorming I did with Tom, it led me to the fact that I avoid sitting on my desk at nights due to bad lighting in my room. my desk even though faces the light gets a lot of shadow from the screen and surroundings not to mention that the light itself is pretty centric in the room.

That made me think that about lighting up the corner on the sides of the window or my desk itself.  Since the ceiling of my room is quiet high and the light hangs down around 2 feet lower from the ceiling to light the room. So the top corners are quiet dull or dim.

Aesthetically, if the beam between the two windows was lit, it would give a symmetric lighting appearance in contrast to the corner being lit.

Maybe after this entire exploration, since I am not going to live in this room after summer - I may just work on lighting something on the ITP floor! Cause

  1. I spend more time there
  2. Easy access to technology  
  3. Quick prototyping space!

24 hours locker installation - Phillips Hue

This is an installation we set up in empty lockers at ITP. Mint and I decided to use the Philips hue bulbs. Based on the time in we set the hue bulbs to change colors and brightness. The installation is meant to be curiosity inducing in an everyday environment.

You can find the code here.

Woraya setting up the GoPro for the 24-hour time lapse!


After going through a few ideas and iterating I decided to make a "corner illuminator"

Specifically because I notice most house lights are centered so the light falls across the whole room but usually that leads to dark corners. Certain corners are usually places were people store things or have shelves and it would be helpful if it were sufficiently lit.

The following is a sketch of what I envisioned this to be.




I decided to use wood for the structure. However, metal is also an option.

I am going to wrap paper around the four dowels as a diffuser.

The base will have a light source. and the paper will have lasercut patterns for aesthetic reasons.

However, the questions I need to address right now are -

  1. How bright do I want this piece to be?
  2. What bulb/light source should I use?
  3. Is this structurally sound or will it be an encumbrance ?
  4. Should I remake the structure with metal ?
  5. What types of paper are best for this application?
  6. Will the heat generated by the light source have an escape route ?

Four hour timelapse

Shots taken every 10 minutes over 4 hours from inside a Cafe.
Since the 24 hour assignment is going to be a completely indoor one, I thought it'd be good to observe the outside world as the sun goes by.

Lighting design Inspirations!

This week was all about testing materials, looking at designs and trying to understand what lighting piece we plan to make.

Here are a few light fixtures that attracted my attention -

I like the way this pentagonal 3D shape and material sheds light on it's surroundings. Wooden materials seem to be a good option to play around with, especially since they are not conductive. However, they probably are not good with taking in the heat of the light source.

I initially wanted to work with metal meshes and sheets to create patterns. Seems like wooden sheets and frosted glass acrylics are giving better textures and diffusion. There's probably a reason why there are more wooden examples than metal. Brass options seem to be good.. EXPERIMENT!

Laser cutting and etching are probably going to be a common process in these wooden fixtures with patterns. The question is, should my piece be up in the air or on a surface?

Super common alphabet light fixtures are very often found in restaurants in NYC. Saw them in Target and Walmart too, these are metal. Now I'm curious about how metal is cut and shaped and processed! Should I look into the product design aspect? Yes. Should I just buy an incasing or make one from scratch? I don't know!

I know that incandescent bulbs are not something I want to use.

I also know that the traditional bulb shape is something that fascinates me. I love the look of the twisted filament inside. So, LED and the fancy filament bulbs or untraditional LEDs like the ones below?

FABRIC! Something I wonder about when it comes to lighting design. Can fabric withhold heat? If yes, how much? What kind of fabric? I have seen jute bag material being used as diffusers in a mesh structure, some have rope, some have feathers!

Hide the light source! crevices and openings designed well that have the light falling off it is something that I'd love to do.

Late morning, Interior

The sunlight coming from the room facing east towards noon.


Since my kitchen happens to have no source of natural light the long windows in both rooms compensate for the lack of it. This was taken when I was walking out of my room and was blinded by the brightness. I like how the glossy pages calendar on the wall on the right reflects the light almost as bright as the source. The dark to light passage ends up making al the objects in between completely dark, some so much that they're barely seen.

I am yet to do an Early morning, outside shot post cause that includes two things that are very difficult for me to do! I aim to do it this week!


  • Started by using the lathe on a cuboidal wooden block, formed a cylindrical shape.
  • Drilled a 1 inch hole through the cylinder wood piece so it formed a pipe.
  • Drilled random holes on the pipe structure for light emissions.

What made me do this?

  1. I wanted to use the lathe and learn how to use it
  2. A flame structure I saw in Austin, Texas at Torchy's Tacos on South Congress road apparently subconsciously stuck in my head

Materials - Arduino Uno, Adafruit neopixel jewel, wood


A piece of plastic was used as a diffuser as suggested by Aaron Parsekian which spread the light equally.

A piece of plastic was used as a diffuser as suggested by Aaron Parsekian which spread the light equally.

The candle encasing has a very rough look, partially cause I'm still learning to sand and partly because I like the ruggedness.

I like the shadows it creates cause the rough cuts and I like that wood is a non-reflective surface that seems to be a good shade.

Code -

#include <Adafruit_NeoPixel.h>
#include <Interval.h>

const int neoPixelPin = 6;
const int numPixels = 7;
int level = 255;
float difference = 10;

Adafruit_NeoPixel strip = Adafruit_NeoPixel(numPixels, neoPixelPin, NEO_GRBW + NEO_KHZ800);

unsigned long keyColors[] = {0xED9912, 0xEDC512, 0xED5012, 0xDBED12}; //colors changed
unsigned long targetColor[numPixels]; 
unsigned long pixelColor[numPixels]; 

int numColors = sizeof(keyColors) / 4;
Interval flickerInterval;

void setup() {
 flickerInterval.setInterval(flickerPixels, 100);

void loop() {

void flickerPixels() {
 for (int thisPixel = 0; thisPixel < numPixels; thisPixel++) {

 strip.setPixelColor(thisPixel, 0, 0, 0, level);
 if (level < 0) 
 level = 255;
 level = level - 60; //difference manipulated

 if ((level >= 255) || (level <= 0)) { 
 difference = -difference; 
 level += difference; 

unsigned long compare(unsigned long thisColor, unsigned long thatColor) {

 byte r = thisColor >> 16;
 byte g = thisColor >> 8;
 byte b = thisColor;

 byte targetR = thatColor >> 16;
 byte targetG = thatColor >> 8;
 byte targetB = thatColor;

 if (r > targetR) r--;
 if (g > targetG) g--;
 if (b > targetB) b--;

 if (r < targetR) r++;
 if (g < targetG) g++;
 if (b < targetB) b++;

 unsigned long result = ((unsigned long)r << 16) | ((unsigned long)g << 8) | b;
 return result;



Interruptible fading LED

'Step one of every assignment involves walking to the junk shelf and finding treasure.'

I have always wanted to make an infinity mirror and a dressing room mirror so the final product ended up being neither!!

Materials used - Arduino 101, Capacitive sensor, 10 LEDs

After connecting 10 LEDs in series and interrupting them with a capacitive touch sensor the mini dressing room mirror was created.

Here's a video

Code -

int led = 9; 
int brightness = 0; 
int fadeAmount = 1; 
int switchpin = A0;
int state = 0;

void setup()

 pinMode(led, OUTPUT);
 pinMode(switchpin, INPUT);
void loop() 


brightness = brightness + fadeAmount;

if (brightness <= 0 || brightness >= 255) {
 fadeAmount = -fadeAmount;

state = analogRead(switchpin);
 if (state > 1000) {
 analogWrite(led, 255); // turn on the yellow LED

else {
 analogWrite(led, brightness);