Physical Computing and Coding


Live lamp

Live lamp was an experimental project that I created to test how light and sounds react with one another. This installation utilizes an Arduino Uno circuit board with 3 RGB LEDs that work in sequence with one another to create a visual display. The purpose of this device was to expand my knowledge of fabrication and physical computing. I utilized programs such as Arduino, Processing, Rhino, and Illustrator to create this device.

The beginning stages started by researching other designers such as Peter Pierobon and Design Milk. I wanted to understand how other designers implement fabrication with electronics. I used my own interpretation of design as well as implementing interaction design with physical computing to create Live Lamp.


How it works


Step 1 - Outline the objective

The first step was the identify what the object is. Firstly, I wanted to combine audio and visuals together. Secondly, wanted it to cast a ’light show’ emitting from the center. Lastly, I wanted customization and to be personalize.

Step 2 - Creative sprint

My creative sprint’s objective was to complete a draft of the object; both it’s design and inner workings. I began by clarifying exactly what I wanted to object to do. I then wrote a list of materials I would need. I then drew a schematic of the device’s inner workings and tested them to ensure the pieces would work.

Secondly, I designed the exterior casing of the object. Inspired by the light coming through the slits of a window, I designed a exterior that included slits with small adjustable wedges. Finally, I was left with a design that cased the electronics in a small box within the shell.

Step 3 - Physical computing

I used two coding software’s for this device, Arduino and Processing. The Arduino code detects initializes the device and detects the audio file. It recognizes information received from the Processing code and interprets it into the separate pins found on the Arduino board. Using another snip of code, I was able to tell the device to detect the audio differences in the sound file. The device can now tell the difference between the snare, kick and bass of the sound file. When a snare beat is detected, pin 1 activates and turns on a blue light. When a kick beat is detected, pin 2 activates and turns on a white light. When a bass beat is detected, pin 3 activates and turns on a red light.

Step 4 - Fabrication and laser cutting

This stage required a large plank of thin birch wood and a laser cutter. I designed the measurements using illustrator and 3D modeling software like Sketchup and Rhino. Using a laser printer, I cut out my pieces and assembled the model. I then inserted the Arduino board within a black container and attached it to the bottom of the model.




If you have any questions about the fabrication or physical computing you can email me at