Night Lights is an interactive light installation that aims to light dark pathways used by students on UC Santa Cruz’s campus. Many of the popular walking routes on campus are poorly lit and flanked by towering trees, making travel between buildings at night daunting and frightening.
This project poses a solution to this problem in that it provides illumination and comfort to students walking late at night. The piece contains seven chipboard lanterns etched with the phases of the moon, an RGB LED strip, an Arduino Uno, and an Ultrasonic sensor. The Ultrasonic sensor is activated when a student walks with in a few feet of the piece, which triggers the LEDs. The LEDs remain illuminated and cycle through colors while the student walks to their destination.
The interactive aspect of this project was inspired by panGenerator’s series of light reactive blocks, Constell-Action, and the physical lanterns and the moon-shaped etchings were inspired by Anila Quayyum Agha’s Intersections. Intersections is a 6.5 foot wooden cube cut with geometric patterns inspired by the inside of Islamic temples. The cube is illuminated from the inside and positioned in the center of the room so that intricately shaped shadows are cast over the viewers body. This creates a peaceful environment that the viewer is fully immersed in as they move through the space. Night Lights aims to create a similar space of beauty and serenity welcome to all students, while also serving the purpose of nighttime safety.