Burning Man 2013 Honorarium Project / Impossible Triangle Now Made Possible

Lighting Hardware

In the Kickstarter video, Blake (Hooch) mentioned that the Penrose Triangle would be lit by individually addressable color changing LEDs. This facet of the lighting will aid in creating some interesting visuals, not the least of which is creating effects that will bring out the illusion of an actual penrose triangle. This lighting set up creates a whole host of electrical and computational challenges. While the Blakes have been handling the structural set up of the sculpture, an entire electrical design/hardware team has been keeping pretty busy. The set up of these lights is such that it requires a lot of custom wiring and circuit boards to get going. Here are three renderings of just one of the types of circuit boards being made:


I stopped by the Artisan’s Asylum the other night to check in on Jacob and Dewb as they started laying out all of the lights and building these circuit boards now that they’ve been manufactured and delivered. Here’s one side of one of these boards:


It’s worth mentioning that these boards are only about one and three quarter inches long and one and a third inches wide. The team has a lot of soldering to do on these boards:


The triangle will be lit by 24 five meter strands of color changing LEDs. When I stopped in, Jacob and Dewb were affixing the strips of LEDs to a single bar. This enables the lighting team to connect the lights and start running their programs while the sculpture itself continues to take shape.


There are 120 meters (nearly 400 feet) lights on this table:


A few comical trips up a shaky ladder type situation and the lights are hung!


Dewb connects one of the strands to test a rudimentary lighting protocol. As you can see, the strips are hanging from a pretty high ceiling but there is still quite a bit more LED strip spooled on that table!


It worked. All hooked up to the computer and it’s time to move on to some more software and wiring configurations. There was a good bit of progress but even at 3AM, there was another detour before breaking for the day.


The Artisan’s Asylum is an invaluable source for the kinds of collaboration that this project needs to succeed. However late at night, there is always a good chance someone with experience will be around to provide some much needed expertise. Here, Drew helps guide Dewb through the design of yet another wiring configuration/PCB board design:


After a lot of discussion about needs and available resources, the guys settled on a strong footing for the next PCB board design. A quick cell phone snapshot of the white board and that’s a wrap for the night.

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