UNIFEST 2019 LED DOME EXPERIENCE
EXPERIENTIAL / SOFTWARE
In the Unifest LED Dome, we created an LED Light Show Geo Dome experience that reacted in real time to the beat of the DJ music. The experience consisted of 5 concentric rings of LED strips that hung from the top of the Dome.
What dynamic light installation for Unifest (a local music and arts festival) could be built for just $500.00 in materials, and installed in less than 2 weeks?
As Unifest is mostly based on music, we wanted to create an experience for attendees that either reacted to their motions or was part of the music. Some of the initial ideas included:
• LED rods with depth sensors in the bottoms to sense when people were beneath them and the height of the person would dictate how much of the LED rod would light up
• Kinetic dance floor that would change colors based on when they were stepped on, and could actually generate their lighting from the motion of interaction
• Floating clouds that would light up with the music based on different frequencies
The rods that were used were PEX piping that can be purchased at Home Depot – a full 100 ft roll was purchased on Amazon for cost savings. The LED rope was also purchased on Amazon (White and Blue), as well as the switches. A Raspberry Pi was used as the CPU, and then the wiring was simple speaker wire purchased on Amazon.
• The PEX was cut into 2′ and 3′ lengths. We wanted to give the rings some dynamism on top of the lighting, just for visual contrast and interest.
• The LED rope was fed down the PEX pipes after the ends were soldered.
• The project was developed in Python.
• A simple structure was built to mount all the switches, controller and additional hardware to.
The result was a light installation that was 100% reactive to the music coming from a DJ’s in real time, and was even hooked up to a microphone for getting just a little extra. Attendees were able to have a new experience literally every second they were dancing.
THE FINAL IDEA
How do you narrow down such fun ideas?! Given the complexity of the kinetic dance floor (and the costs), that idea was removed – well, pushed to future creation for the right project and client. For the depth sensors, this would also push us over our budget, and would take a lot longer to develop and QA, so we saved this for future as well. The clouds idea was fun with the music driving the experience, but the clouds were going to take some research on how to make them the best they could be.
The final result was a combination of the LED rods and the cloud idea. After reviewing YouTube for inspiration, a video of paint on top of speakers was found, as well as sand on top of a speaker that reacted to the audio differently based on the frequency that was played. This concept sparked the idea of arranging the rods into concentric rings at the top of the geo-dome, with the rods hanging down.