We had the honour of presenting a ubirch art project at this year’s re:publica. Taking the motto “Finding Europe” literally, we wanted to enable visitors to experience Europe in a way that is usually only possible by traveling. 29 lamps placed on a map of Europe would display the intensity and color of daylight at the current time and in that location. While it was still necessary to explain that the lamps neither show the debt or political situation in the corresponding countries, visitors were quite impressed nonetheless.
First, the simple idea of visualising daylight throughout Europe brings us closer together. Discussing why a light is a little darker here or brighter there led to discussions. Visitors from newer European countries were very excited to be presented and told us about the country and city they come from. Even some of our sensor hosts visited the installation. A great way to connect — we need more of this.
Second, those sensors had to work autonomous. Creating a device that would run for a month or longer without having to fiddle with is a challenge. Stephan made an excellent job of building the little boxes that contain an Arduino, a cellphone module, sensors, and a battery. They still work! For those interested in reading about it, the next Make Magazin issue (German) has a nice feature on „Finding Europe with Lights“.
It is interesting to note that even the lamps are autonomous devices. They contain the same hardware, except the sensor is replaced by a multi-colur LED. The sensors send the detected daylight colors regularly via the mobile network to our server. The lamps also ask for the color values for their connected sensor. All lamps had their host location engraved in their base, a little info-card with the sensor hosts application, and a QR code to see the full sensor data sheet at our Thingspeak server.
We would like to thank re:publica 2015 for the opportunity and also our sensor hosts who made the project possible. It’s unfortunate we can’t visit them all right now 🙂
—— UPDATE ——-
Make Magazine Germany was so kind to publish our background article about the project free of charge on their website. Unfortunately in german language, but nevertheless a good read. http://www.heise.de/make/artikel/Finding-Europe-with-Lights-3079605.html (if you are looking for something similar in english, please visit Stephan’s makerblog, where he documented the project in a series of articles as well)