Felix Raspall and Carlos Banon, architecture professors from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), have premiered a new 3D printed light installation at the iLight Marina Bay festival in Singapore. Spanning 10 meters, ‘(Ultra) Light Network’ stands as a tetrahedral mesh sculpture, showing how 3D printing can combine form and function in astounding new ways.
The design duo’s new ‘(Ultra) Light Network’ uses polymers as a vehicle for focusing squarely on questions of algorithmic light.The specs are certainly dazzling in and of themselves. Through dimensions of 10 m x 6 m x 3 m, the gigantic lightweight mesh emits a staggering amount of light. That’s due to over 50,000 individually controlled LED pixels, which react to a sophisticated algorithm run on five microcontrollers. The mesh itself is comprised of 715 polycarbonate square tubs, which evenly balance and diffuse the light sources. Equally as impressive are the 152 individual nodes printed from ABS and Nylon, used for housing the vast array of custom-made light bulbs.
Three ultrasonic sensors located at the bases of the structure mean that all 50,000 LEDs respond dynamically to the presence of visitors, blurring the lines between physical and virtual interaction.
Lots of development went into the project, which aims to “address not only structural requirements but also power transmission, and information communication within a seamless and continuous aesthetic,” its creators say. Building an installation this resilient yet flexible meant developing custom parametric tools in order to best determine the tetrahedral topology.
The structure absorbs stresses and responds evenly to expansions, contractions, and loads such as wind and other external forces. This is partly due to the sturdy yet lightweight architecture’s incorporation of hyper-redundancy: unlike other systems, “(Ultra) Light Network” converges ten members per node, allowing for maximum stability and resistance.
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