Explore the fusion of art and technology with Aurora, an interactive light installation by Zane Cochran. Through the combination of data from NASA’s ACE satellite and photographs of the Northern and Southern Lights from various photographers, this installation captures the beauty of this natural phenomena into algorithmically generated origami lamps and interactive LED animations.
AURORA VISITOR COMPANION GUIDE
To aid visitors to the Aurora interactive installation, a printed visitor companion guide was included to give additional context to the interactive experience (86 Pages, Perfect Bound, Color). The guide included images of each specific aurora event that the light animations were modeled after, as well as a data visualization of the NASA sensor data that influenced each lamp's geometry.
THE SOUNDS OF AURORA
The subtle animations of each Aurora lamp invites visitors to explore and gaze up in wonder. A soundtrack was created to complement this experience and immerse oneself into a far away place.
Each Aurora lamp is designed using a custom Processing program that algorithmically processes satellite data and maps it to various geometric constraints of the 3D lamp. For example, coronal mass ejections (CME) are bursts of energy from the sun that are a main contributor to the intensity of auroras seen in the northern and southern hemispheres. These CMEs are visualized in the software by creating a tighter twist in the lamp's geometry. The software then creates a flat pattern from the 3D wireframe that is suitable for laser cutting.
INTERACTIVE LED ANIMATION
Inside each lamp is a custom-developed printed circuit board (PCB) that simulates the color transitions of a specific aurora event. These color displays are powered by 12 individually addressable LEDs that are capable of producing over 6 million colors and are controlled by an ATTiny85 microcontroller. An attached motion sensor allows the lamps to light up when visitors are in close proximity to a specific lamp, and slowly fade away over time as the visitor moves on. The overall effect leaves a trail of fading Aurora lamps as users explore the installation space.
AURORA MINIATURE KITS
After exploring the installation, visitors could purchase small miniature kits of the lamps in the museum gift shop that allowed them to build and fold their own Aurora-inspired origami lamps.
Aurora was exhibited in 2017 at the Lyndon House Art Museum in Athens, Georgia in its large East Gallery. It will be featured at the GlassCube Gallery at Hotel Indigo in Athens from 2021 to 2022.