Light sculpture – test pics

Some test pics to see how well it works. Bare in mind that the polgons are created by a rotating line of light which is shaped as it spins. All very striaghtforward trigonometry on paper  – but a bit more tricky to get it all working neatly on the Arduino.

Some polygons.

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Some roses

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And a couple of these.


In this next one, you can see how it works as left the lights on. Pretty!



Video will follow soon.

Light Sculpture

An idea for the Straight8 super8 competition 2011

The idea is to take a super8 camera and modify it so it can take long exposures controlled by an Arduino.

This camera then films a moving light sculpture which should create nice geometric patterns but in a mesmerising way. Not all flickery like your typical long exposure film.

Here’s the moving light part. It spins around driven by stepper motors and powered via a slip ring. And the rotating part can also move in the xy plane.


The light in the middle is a cold cathode tube. There are masks which can move in and out to shape the light from a point to a line and there’s a colour roll which travels across the light to give it either a single colour, many colours or gradients.

Here are some pics of the set up in the warehouse at reworks. Note that the camera is set up on a long piece of wood in a shopping trolley, so that it points vertically down and can also be tracked back and forth.

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Gothometer in action

Some pics from strawberry fair of the Gothometer in action. Neither the Collie nor the girl scored very highly.

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sneaky look behind the curtain…

Behind the gothometer there is  box containing the smoke machine and other electronics.


It’s all powered by a cable in a channel a few inches below ground and the webcam is about 20m away.


Made for strawberry fair.

The idea is that it can measure your “inner goth” and reveal your goth rating on the meter. Music plays depending on how goth you are – Kylie for a score of 1 and Sisters of Mercy for 11. If you do get to 11, a smoke machine is triggered as an extra surprise.

In actual fact – there is a webcam looking at you and the image is analysed by python and openCV. OpenCV stands for Open Computer Vision and this allows the image to be processed using some quite sophisticated algorithms which people much smarter than I have compiled for everyone else to use. The image is analysed to see how much black and purple are present. These being the stereotypical Goth colours. The more purple/ black detected the higher the goth rating. An arduino is connected to the laptop via rs232 cable.

Checking the dimensions



Checking the webcam



Below are the gubbins to trigger the smoke machine

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Workshop 54

This is where it all happens. An abandoned carpet warehouse which has been converted into small social enterprise units. In one of those units is Workshop 54 !

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front of workshop

inside workshop

Full of tools and bits of scrap metal, this place is a veritable paradise for tinkerers. It’s also home to the splendid Trailer trash !