Movolight – Physical Computing Midterm Project

For my physical computing midterm project I decided to play around with servo motors, as they are easy to control and fun to work with. The concept here is that of an interactive chandelier. The chandelier in this case consists of 9 cubes. The cubes can be switched on and off individually through a computer interface. Depending on the number of the cubes that are switched on, they divided the vertical height between them equally. So if only one of the cubes were to be switched on it would go the full distance. Then if another one is switched on, one would be at full displacement the second one at half distance, so on and so forth. Thus the cubes moved in vertical direction and arrange themselves every time a new cube is switched on or off creating new and interesting lighting patterns.

On the technical side, the main controller here is an atmel168 chip on the arduino development board. The controller serially talks to processing running on a PC for the user interface. On the other side the arduino controls 9 servos and 9 LEDs which make the chandelier. The LEDs can be dimmed using the PWM signal from the arduino. The servos and LEDs are connected by daisy chaining two 8 bit shift registers.

Heres the setup:


The arduino with all the messy wiring 😉


Cubes lit in different formations:




And heres the movie :