Interactive downtown lighting projects

  • interactive tree.jpg
    I have some volunteer lighting projects coming our way for downtown as well as some paid gig from local businesses. One of the things I am building for the KCBIA is a few interactive trees. For example one that would visualize music and sound, to encourage local artists to play live music under it. Other simple ones, using motion sensors or cameras to detect people nearby and light up.


    I will also likely get a few window displays to do light installations in.

    We also have access to a few large empty walls that we could use to project onto (with access to power from the building across the street). Laser projection anyone?


    Let me know if you have creative ideas for interactive light sculptures in downtown, or want to join me on some of these projects.

  • Linux

    Neat project … how will you detect the sound to be visualized? If possible it would be neat to capture the sound as actual notes (as opposed to just the presence or absence of sound).

  • Sound detection and filtering is the easy part, I’ve built a sprinkler that does that.

  • Linux

    @keerf I tried to play the above video but got the message 'This video contains content from WMG, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.

    How did you do the sound detection in your project?

  • Interesting. Don’t even get a notice on my own videos page. Huh.

    I was going to go with a microcontroller but it just was not fast enough for daft punk, unfortunately. Ended up building an entirely analog active bandpass filter board. I made up a spreadsheet that takes your preferred bandwidth and center frequency and gives you all of the resistor and capactior values for a LM324N Quad op amp.

    If I did one again, I’d do it with twelve filters and use a microcontroller on the output side to make some of the valves move laterally based on which ones are on and for how long, but that’s a project for when I have more time.

  • Looks like this one works when I’m logged out. Looks better above 30fps of course.

    Or along these lines with RGB LED strings?

    Of course this would be super interactive having a mic stand set up on the sidewalk, or a piano!

  • Linux

    Nice sprinkler!
    If I understand this correctly you have a microphone capturing the sound and being filtered by nine distinct active bandpass filters that trigger their unique valve when the recorded sound matches their frequency range?
    What microcontroller did you try and was it able to keep up with a lower valve count?

  • You understand correctly. Frequency response with almost any microcontroller (I believe I tried a pic28f series but it’s been years since that one day experiment).

    The real issue is you will always have latency when you’re trying to process and display in real time, which is why analog methods work well. I’ve watched some digital solutions and at some point you can start to see the latency, I think my first try was with three leds. My code probably wasn’t optimized well enough or somesuch. But I decided early on the only real time solution was a finely tuned analog one.

  • @Keerf cool projects! When are we going to see you at the makerspace? It would be great to have you involved in our light display workshops, or some of the downtown projects if you have time.

  • Linux

    I agree with @arasbm … very cool!
    I always want to use a controller, but it is not always the best or even an elegant solution.

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