Notus – Networked mechanical lamp

Notus is my final project for Networked objects and the Materials class. Building the lamp is part of the materials class and networking it is for the networked objects class.

Lighting has been my passion for quite some time now, and I keep finding myself coming up with more and more lighting design projects. There just something about making lamps that is very exciting.

Notus was first conceived as part of the materials class, as it would involve casting, mold making and working with various materials. The form of the lamp is derived from a lotus, and it can mechanical open and close itself. It has two rows of 8 leaves each, which are hinged at the bottom to a circular gear. Now as the gear is rotated, on a threaded rod, it rises up, and hence the leaves open outwards. The inside of the lamp would have LED clusters both facing upwards and downwards to light up the lamp evenly.

I first started with a form core board model to get my concept clear, and also to make sure that the mechanism would work.

For the construction of the final lamp, I first made a 3D model in Solidworks.
The image below shows a 3D model of the lamp and gives an idea of how the lamp would look like once its completed.

Heres how the lamp would look like when it would be closed.

The 3D model was then used to make a rapid prototype of the two different leaves. These were then used to make the molds in silicone.
The image below shows the 3D printed (Rapid prototyped) leaf and the mold.

The molds were then used to create all the leaves using liquid plastic. I added an orange pigment to give it some color. The interesting thing here was that the natural texture of the rapid prototyped model gave the final leaves a translucent effect which looked nice.

The images below shows the LED cluster that forms the light source inside the lamp.

On the networking side, the lamp is connected to the internet and has an online configuration web page. Users can control how the lamp behaves from this page. The image below shows the online interface.

There are various options for controlling the lamp

Direct Control: Users can directly control how much the lamp is open or closed through a slider.

Local ambient response: The lamp reacts (opens and closes) based on the light conditions within the room

Remote ambient response: The lamp reacts to weather conditions outside

Alarm clock: Users can also choose to use the lamp as an alarm clock, so that it would light up and open at a preset time in the morning.

The images below show the final working lamp:

The winding wire here was later resolved by use of slip rings.

Spinning Notus as it opens at the ITP Spring show 2008

Notus in its fully opened state


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