Susanne Seitinger, Danny Perry (MIT Media
Lab); Richard Wilson (Distance Lab)
Urban Pixels are a new system of programmable
lighting units created at MIT that can be used to create new effects
that blur the boundary between urban lighting and display. In June
2008, Distance Lab collaborated with the MIT Media Lab to present the
first ever public exhibition of Urban Pixels on a facade at the Eden
Court Theatre in Inverness, Scotland. Theatre-goers and passers-by
were able to interact with the display by sending texts with their
mobile phones or by waving a flashlight on the facade.
"Urban Pixels" are wireless, solar-powered lighting units for cities
that blur the boundary between digital display technology and
traditional urban lighting. By combining a renewable energy source
with RF communication it is possible to achieve a self-sustaining,
distributed display network that can be attached to any building
surface and reconfigured with ease. Depending on their configuration
and placement, Urban Pixels can be used to convey place-specific
information, respond to environmental conditions or support creative
expression in urban public spaces.
Urban Pixels could be installed on any vertical or horizontal
surface, on buildings or urban furniture or other infrastructure. The
key components of a Pixel are: RF radio, microprocessor, LEDs, solar
cells, battery pack. Three generations of prototypes have been
developed to date. The current design of the Pixels integrates
communication, lighting and solar charging. A floating version is
also being developed, to be tested in Scotland.
High resolution project images
Visit Susanne's Urban
Pixels web page at MIT.