Two Professors Use Tetrahedral Installation to Light Up Marina Bay

Felix Raspial (photos from Youtube screen grab)

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(Ultra) Light Network at iLight Marina Bay. Credits - SUTD: Felix Raspall and Carlos Banon

(Ultra) Light Network at iLight Marina Bay. Credits – SUTD: Felix Raspall and Carlos Banon

A luminous tetrahedral mesh spanning 10 metres, (Ultra) Light Network is the latest 3D printed innovation achieved by Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) Assistant Professors Felix Raspall and Carlos Banon.

Displayed at this year’s iLight Marina Bay in Singapore, the interactive light sculpture is an exploration of how full-scale 3D printed components can create a system to “address not only structural requirements but also power transmission, and information communication within a seamless and continuous aesthetic.”

Carlos Banon (Photo: Screengrab from Youtube)

Asst Prof Carlos Banon (Photo: Screengrab from Youtube)

The annual light art festival features light installations using environmental-friendly materials or energy-saving lighting. This year’s festival featured 20 light installations, including Raspall and Banon’s structure.

Suspended over its visitors, the display engages the public through responses to their movements, controlled by over 50,000 distinct LED pixels reacting to their special algorithm. It runs on five microcontrollers and works in conjunction with three ultrasonic sensors at the three bases of the structure. This gives visitors a lively and illuminating experience.

A close-up of the structure. Credit - SUTD: Felix Raspall and Carlos Banon

A close-up of the structure. Credit – SUTD: Felix Raspall and Carlos Banon

The entire mesh is composed of 715 polycarbonate squared tubes of standard dimensions, responsible for the balanced and even diffusion of the light sources. 152 individual nodes were printed from translucent ABS and nylon materials to contain custom-made LED light bulbs, an integral aspect of the 10m x 6m x 3m installation.

The team developed their own custom parametric design to achieve the structure’s flexibility and resilience. As a result of its slender yet sturdy characteristics, the installation can withstand stresses of expansion and contraction, and even absorbs external forces such as wind loads and punctual forces. This is also due in part to the model’s hyper-redundancy, which converges ten members per node to allow for stability and resistance.

The video can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/176859186

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