One Luminous Dot is a project I consulted on for Dutch designer Teresa van Dongen, developing the full range of mechanical movements required for the motion of the installation. Teresa uses bio-luminescent bacteria that emits light when gently shaken. I was given the task to create an automated (and subtle) mechanism that controls the vessel containing the bacteria.
An important element of the project was to calibrate the motors to express wave motions gentle, yet strong enough to excite the bioluminescent bacteria inside the tubes, without damaging the fragile cells. This required a precise selection of motor technology, matching the dynamic weight of the water, and desired speed of the motions, as well as the user interface for the designer to change the motion on the spot, adjusting the installation to the space and the duration of the exhibition.
The project was exhibited during D'Days 2015 in the Louvre Paris and Dutch Design Week Eindhoven in 2015. The full experience of the installation provided visitors with an immersive experience inside a custom made space, housing the moving light tubes plus an array of mirrors and soundscape, submerging viewers into a 360 degree world of gently pulsating bio-luminescent movements.
Technical challenges involved calibrating movement to the right speed and velocity, this was achieved by using heigh power geared DC motors, and precise H-bridge controllers. As well as a series of crucial electro-mechanical stop's ensuring the smooth running of the installation for an extended period of time.