ImSoDopeaHedron – Infinity Mirror LED Sculpture

The ImSoDopeaHedron is a beautiful and mesmerizing LED sculpture by maker and designer Tom Schubert.

The project was inspired by Neil Merchant’s Dodecahedron which also uses an infinity mirror approach to create hypnotic LED effects that highlight the sculpture’s geometric structure.

Schubert has shared a few videos so far of palettes and sound-reactive lighting patterns he’s created using FastLED for the sculpture—including tests from Bowie’s “Rocket Man” to vaporwave—which you can watch on his Youtube channel. Schubert has also shared photos of the making of the sculpture for makers who are considering building their own or a similar project.

To build the ImSoDopeaHedron, Schubert wired up high-density Neopixel strips to line each of the sculpture’s joints resulting in five strips of six sections running in parallel. This creates a star burst pattern of light where the five segments meet, the effect of which is absolutely entrancing to watch when replicated within the sculpture’s mirrored interior. The 1,440 LEDs are driven by a Teensy 3.2 while the infinity effect is created by lining the sculpture in .6mm two-way acrylic.

AURA – Sound Reactive Art Installation

German designer and artist Alex Rex has created many installations combining sound and electronics. One of his most recent projects, Aura, envisions what it would take to make a field of wooden rods sway in response to the notes from a piano, clarinet, or other instrument.

To realize the project, he uses a Teensy 3.5 and Teensy Audio Board to control a series of motors which direct the movements of wooden rods according to sound input from a microphone. The effect is a beautiful and whimsical installation where the surrounding rods appear to come to life in response to live music.

Not only is the project itself impressive, but even more impressive is Rex’s decision to use the project’s documentation as a platform for educating others about how to create musical electronic installations. He’s devoted an entire section of his website to tutorials which can help even beginners learn how to build reactive audio environments like Aura with both budget and materials in mind.

Rex’s tutorials are extremely thorough, including custom diagrams, parts lists, and step-by-step instructions with annotated source code. He takes things a step further by showing interesting ways in which sound can manipulate movement through examples of linear, rotational, and algorithmic models including videos of these models applied to outputs such as servos and LEDs.

You can view more of Rex’s projects including a machine which ignites and extinguishes matches and an exploration into alternative materials for producing vinyl records on his portfolio website.

Wobble Sphere

Experimental hardware game developer Robin Baumgarten’s latest creation, the Wobble Sphere, makes creative use of 72 touch-sensitive door stopper springs, each outlined in an LED ring that reacts when the stopper is touched.

Not only does each individual ring react, but the surrounding rings react as well, allowing users to create colorful patterns that can move throughout the sculpture bringing it to life. The Wobble Sphere builds on some of Baumgarten’s previous designs which also incorporate touch reactive door stopper springs. As Baumgarten mentions in a recent tweet, the  project was created during the 2020 Covid19 pandemic and the shape of the wobble spherea globe with spikesmay seem a bit familiar (only this is the kind of corona structure you want to touch!)

Baumgarten mentions in a Teensy forum post that to create the project he used a Teensy 4.0 and 72 neopixel rings. He’s also posted a behind-the-scenes documentation of the making of the project on his website for those who’d like to learn more about the project’s construction or ogle the beautiful artwork by Caitlin Goodale on the custom PCBs inside the sculpture.

Baumgarten has created many playful interactive art installations over the years incorporating everything from LED reactive springs to kitchen knives.