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Project Edison

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Interactive chandelier turns data streams into a light show

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When Joie de Vivre asked IDEO for an art installation for their new Epiphany Hotel in Palo Alto, they wanted something that would celebrate Silicon Valley’s track record of big innovations. So the IDEO design team thought small: Silicon Valley is built on big dreams that start small, in small garages, on small budgets, by small, entrepreneurial teams working long nights to reach magic moments of epiphany.

The resulting Edison Project at the Epiphany Hotel in Palo Alto is an interactive light and motion installation of 100 light bulbs spanning two stories of space.

Prototyped and built using the Noam software platform, Edison’s modular design enables this  ten foot square array of LED bulbs to independently vary brightness and spatial position, creating an infinite ballet. Noam is used to relay messages to and from motors, lights, micro-controllers, and the driving algorithms. All the major hardware components are designed or adapted by IDEO—even the light bulb!

Edison’s goal is to capture the essence of Silicon Valley with an interactive installation that set a new standard for interaction design going forward. It enables public participation and environmental input via data, algorithms, sensors, APIs, and creativity. The current iteration is a communal physical platform; eventually people from all over the world will be able to contribute visualization code to have their own vision be physically represented by light and motion at the Epiphany.

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