Find all your DIY electronics in the MakerShed. 3D Printing, Kits, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Books & more!
lightwave Light Wave: Playing with Light

Light Wave is a game and a work of art.

Light Wave is a two player game and art installation I created. It was first shown in the glass-walled gallery of Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus. The game is simple. To begin the rally, hit a pedestal with one of the foam mallets. If your partner’s hit is timed correctly the rally will continue. The harder a pedestal is hit the faster the signal travels and it doesn’t slow down until a winner is determined. You may think that tennis or pong skills would serve the player well, but I found that players with experience in rhythm games like DDR or Guitar Hero usually won.


While Light Wave is a game that takes place in the physical world, I still think of it – in part – as a video game. Each light is both a pixel and a second-hand floor lamp.  I like the idea of repurposing these lamps (some are beautiful, some are Goodwill rejects), giving them a second life as a video game.

By installing in a gallery at a college, I had a young audience that was game literate and excited to play. For many, “playing” in a gallery was a new experience, but once the students understood the nature of the installation, the game got a lot of use.

lightwave hammer Light Wave: Playing with Light

Light Wave is played with a modified Thor hammer.

Technically, Light Wave is pretty simple. The game runs on an Arduino Mega, which is connected to three solid state relay boards from SainSmart, each with 8 optically isolated relays on them. (These boards are pre-built but you still need to use caution when working with line voltages.)  The sensors that capture the hammer blows are the most expensive part of the game. I wanted something that could take a pounding and still work and the 10-pound load cells from Phidgets  turned out to be great. The mallets are modified Thor hammers from Toys R Us.

If you have a regular Arduino (not a Mega), you will only be able to control up to 12 lamps.  However, you can extend this using shift registers – here’s a tutorial to get you started.

Starting tomorrow Light Wave will be on display in the Usdan Gallery at Bennington College as part of a two-person exhibition with Kristin Lucas. The show  closes May 10. More of my work can be seen here.


Related
blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Supplies at Maker Shed

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 26,180 other followers