Birds of a Feather

Experiment 5: Birds of a Feather

Course: Creation & Computation

Digital Futures, 2019 


Members: Catherine Reyto, Jun Li, Rittika Basu, Sananda Dutta, and collaborator

Project title:  Birds of a Feather

Project visual concept

Project description:

This project is an installation piece, involving a display composed of LEDs and various materials (primarily laser-cut acrylic).  We will be taking the interaction lightscape aspects of Experiment 1 (Sananda and collaborator), Experiment 2 (collaborator and Li), and Experiment 4 (Catherine, Li, Rittika, collaborator), and the work with LEDs and acrylic from Catherine and Sananda’s Experiment 2. 

The theme of our installation is birds.  Specifically, birds as they have been represented stylistically by the artists of our respective countries of origin.  Aesthetically, the range of species, variation of visual patterns and textures works well with our optics. We will be working with distance sensors as a means of interaction with participants, limiting the activity to simple actions (activating and deactivating light based on proximity, and some light animation).  


 /materials/technology list:  what you will use to build your project. Be specific.

The range of bird groupings and styles will span across four panels.  If it’s possible to acquire them we are hoping to mount these panels to clothing racks on wheels so they are flexible in terms of portability.  Behind the panels is where we will assemble our circuits and arduinos (hidden from view). The wiring will feed into the display via holes in the panels.  The birds will be laser-cut from acrylic sheets (colour varying), though we may include other materials (paper, ink, and translucent fabrics) to emphasize the shift in artistic style.  

Lighting: : 

  • Ambient/atmosphere: remote-lit bulbs
  • Display: 2 
    • 2 x RGB strips  / 12” (50 RGBs per strip) 
    • 2 x RGB strips / 1 m (50 RGBs per strip)
    • Individual LEDS
    • Jumper wires
    • 5 x distance sensors (Ultrasonic Range Finder –  LV – MaxSonar-EZ0)
    • 5 x Arduino Nano 33 IoT
    • 2 x Arduino Mega 2560
    • 1 x Arduino Uno 

Material :

– Plastics (acrylic), laser-cut

  • Designed in Photoshop, Procreate and Illustrator


  • Arduino
  • Touch Designer

Work plan – include dates & milestones

Sunday November 23: Round 1 / bird designs created

Monday November 24: Round 1 / Bird designs laser-cut

  • Schematic / circuits 
  • Arduino programming

Tuesday November 25: Round 1 / Bird designs laser-cut 

Wednesday November 26: Round 2 / Bird designs laser-cut

  • Initial tests/ RGBs and sensors
  • Panels designed for displays

Thursday November 27: Round 2 / Bird designs laser-cut

Friday November 28:  Round 3 / Bird designs laser-cut

  • Panels drilled for circuits 

Saturday November 29: Assembly / testing
Sunday November 30: Assembly  / testing 

Monday December 1 : Assembly / testing

Tuesday December 2:  Install in space

Wednesday December 3 :  Install in space


Physical installation details:  The displays will be mounted like paintings but as the artwork will be attached to the panels at varying distances, there will be a 3D aspect (depth).  The LED circuits will be mounted on the backside of the panels, with the display components positioned in front, so that they’re ‘coloured’ by the LEDS while diffusing the light  in the process.  

The panels will in turn be supported by clothing racks on wheels for portability.  

Resources / materials: 

  • Acrylic sheets
  • Tissues / translucent fabric
  • Acrylic paint (black matte)
  • Foam / wood /cork-board panels







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