Flatsun Simulates Burning Solar Activity

Craft & Design Science
Flatsun Simulates Burning Solar Activity

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It’s about a bilion times smaller than our actual closest star (140 cm, the artist made sure to make this exact), but Rafael Lozano-Hemmer has managed to recreate its glowing visuals in his art piece, Flatsun.

To do so, he designed and built a custom array of 60,000 red and yellow LEDs. They are controlled by a computer running eight processors, and a video camera detects the number of people in the room then alters Flatsun’s activity based on that. If the room is crowded, the toiling flames increase in intensity. If the place empties out, Flatsun calms down.

To make the visual action of Flatsun properly mimic the sun, Rafael employed the fluid dynamic algorithms Navier Stokes, fractal flames, reaction diffusion, and Perlin noise.

[via Technabob]

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In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens' educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

View more articles by Michael Colombo


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