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Lampan92 gets closer to reality

In a previous post, I had spouted endless technotrivia on how to connect an Arduino to a FoxBoard Linux SBC. As one German former student of mine, you could ask "but vy?". This is the why: building the world biggest networked computer controlled IKEA hack lamp. Soon to be installed in the central hall of the Industrial Design building at TUDelft.

The lamp is an idea of Daniel Saakes, brought into physical reality by Aadjan van der Helm, Aditya Pawar, Sterre van der Helm and yours truly, with the usual fundamental collaboration of Rob Luxen. This lamp is made up of 92 individual IKEA lamps, wired as 12 groups (corresponding to the faces of a dodecahedron), plus two more groups for additional lamps placed on the vertices and one group that contains one, solitary, bulb on the inside of the lamp. You can consider it a baroque evolution of the original Big lamps from IKEA Lampan lamps idea.

Here are some photos of the work in progress

This is the lamp at an advanced stage of construction. Notice that the caps are not yet on the individual lamps, and there is overall lumpiness. Not yet sweetly polyhedral.

after plenty of work, here it is, looking much better. Thomasz is inspecting the innards, perhaps a little too close for comfort.

This is the lamp, powered up, in its temporary hanging location in the basement of industrial design.

and a closeup shows the gnarly internal structure, and part of the wiring.

The lamp’s internal FoxBoard queries a service, written as a python server in the Google App Engine environment. The server produces a configuration message that contains the new state of the lamp (that is, which groups are on and which are off). The FoxBoard then writes out the message to an Arduino over USB: the Arduino, in turn, squirts it out to two shift register circuits that present their outputs to optoisolators. The optoisolators separate the low voltage side of the system from the 220 V side, and drive the lamps.

The system is built around the fundamental limitations of compact fluorescent lamps: they are not easy to dim, and they don’t like being switched on and off frequently. Hence, the configuration will be pulled infrequently, perhaps once every ten minutes.

The Google App Engine server has been built on top of my (currently in progress) SERPE service prototyping environment.

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