Art and Technology are Friends

About

I am a Brooklyn, NY based technology artist.

I’ve been tinkering with electronics all my life, and always fascinated with LEDs. Many years ago, I started building objects with LEDs.

I hope to connect to other people sharing the same interests and possibly lure more people into appreciating the beauty of LED lights.

57 Responses

  1. Roel

    Your projects are a great inspiration and i check your page regularly to see what new colourfull artwork you realised.
    You must be very talented to combine art with technology in such an elegant way. Translating an idea in a clear, simplified electronic design, implement the time and resource-critical embedded software, assemble pcb’s, make fantastic video’s and put it all on a website.
    A one-man football team ! :)

    (I’d like to share a tip with you if you don’t mind :
    http://hackaday.com/2011/07/22/using-binary-code-modulation-to-control-led-brightness/)

    Succes with your work !

    January 9, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    • Thank you so much for the flattering comment!

      Aki

      January 11, 2014 at 5:26 am

  2. Altanore

    While I mostly do not understand the internal workings of the circuitry besides the basics, I do absolutely love assembling and watching circuits that perform magic with LED’s. Hence why I just had to order a couple of your products. :) I am curious to know how you manufacture such beautiful PCB’s though?

    October 7, 2013 at 3:38 am

    • Thank you very much for your comments.
      I just design PCB pretty much like everyone else. I love taking time to route traces just right to my eyes.

      Aki

      October 20, 2013 at 11:30 pm

  3. Pingback: lungStruck » Colour Night Joule Thief

  4. camohoj

    shipping costs to United Kingdom is more costly than the Colour Changing Night Joule Thief. Could i buy the kit on say Amazon or a from an outlet in the UK ?

    August 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    • I know international shipping is expensive… Amazon might be something that I should look into.
      I can use reseller in Europe… Anyone?

      August 18, 2012 at 12:38 pm

  5. Thaddaeus

    Haha now it’s time to dislike me, do you ever plan to release the CAD files for your PCB design because honestly the design is amazing both artistically (everybody loves circles) and compact and elegantly designed. If not then oh well that is something I have to love with.

    Also I have shown some of your works to my friends and all of them loved them so I think I will be purchasing a couple mini’s as Christmas gifts.

    With that being said I was wondering if the audio interface would work with te aurora 9×18 or mini? Now the mini I could understand why it wot work that well but how about the smaller Aurora?

    August 15, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    • I’m hesitant to release the CAD or gerber files because someone might start selling the kits or the PCBs. I do want to share what I do, but don’t want to help someone to just knock off my design. Besides I use a little known software called Osmond to design PCBs. So CAD files are of little use to others. (I could’t afford Eagle or other CAD packages.)
      Thanks for showing my work to your friends. Also know that I have a couple of new things coming up in a few weeks time.
      Audio interface works with Aurora 9×18 mk2 (as stated), but not the original Aurora 9×18 or mini. All Auroras _can_ have the functionality (yes the firmware needs to be upgraded), but I did not work the connector into the design, so connecting the interface will be a bit of messy work.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      • Thaddaeus

        I completely understand what you mean, have you thought about patenting your design? Ah yes about that I use Osmond as well since I run OS X. But understandable about not releasing your files.

        Awesome, I can not wait to see what you have coming up!

        Ah okay, I think I will just stay with my plan to get the 18×18.. When I get that money haha. Thanks for the responses!

        August 15, 2012 at 9:54 pm

        • You use Osmond? Cool. I’ve been using it since 2003. Considered Eagle a few times, but since most of my projects won’t fit in the free version, the price was too much. Plus I think Eagle’s schematics is very ugly.

          August 16, 2012 at 10:40 am

          • Thaddaeus

            Yes I do actually, it actually is my favorite CAD/PCB tool, very nice and cleanly set up, eagle was a pain for me to use. Osmond is very… Linear and easy to use in my opinion.

            Where did you learn all you stuff about ICs and curcuits? I read that you were self taught for most of your stuff, as am I, I am just looking for ways to further my knowledge.

            August 16, 2012 at 5:05 pm

            • Yeah Osmond is nice, but I miss the ability to capture schematics sometimes. It crashes a bit too often too…

              I learned pretty much all from books and application notes. One great thing about Microchip is that they have a lot of great app notes.

              I studied the vary basics like Ohm’s law and Kirchhoff’s laws at high school (Japanese education system is different), but nothing like transistor, etc. However we assembled radio kits etc. at school too.

              On the software side, I’ve been a professional programmer for some time, so picking up a new language was not a big challenge. However microcontroller firmware tend to be timing sensitive, so it took some time to get better at optimizing things.

              Just keep tinkering and you will learn…

              August 16, 2012 at 7:30 pm

  6. Thaddaeus

    Hello The LED Artist,

    First off I would just like to tell you that your projects are awesome. I am really inspired by them. The one project that got my attention was your Aurora 18×18. I would love to make it however unfortunately right now I just don’t have the money to finance it so hopefully in the near future I will be able to. However that is not why I am here, I was just curious as to where you buy your LED’s and what companies you would suggest buying them from (especially those Tricolor common cathode).

    Keep up the awesome work!

    August 14, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    • Thanks for your comments!
      To get LEDs cheaper you need to buy them in bulk, like 1,000′s at a time. Tricolor LEDs are little harder (read: not so cheap), but try AliExpress.com. Basically you will import them from China. Specs are usually not exact, and datasheets are non-existent. So what I do is buy a 100 or so first to check the quality, then reorder more if they are good.
      Good luck!

      August 14, 2012 at 10:05 pm

  7. Martin Schmidt

    Hello ‘The Artist LED’!

    What do you mean, is it difficult to synchronize or connect Wave JT? He would have to be twice as big, but run with a battery.

    See you
    Martin

    August 9, 2012 at 10:54 am

  8. Kris

    Hi there
    first of all great project mate its really amazing I found it few months ago and I remember it today
    My question is can I buy only the pcb because most of the parts exist in my work place

    Thank you

    July 13, 2012 at 10:56 am

  9. Hi Aki,

    I read the conversations between you and your customers,you guys are really knowledgeble and humorous,I write this email to you with respect,I am working as a salesman in a PCB factory,I am full of interest in making friend with the people in other countries,hope I can help you for your projects in future.

    Best regards,

    Scott

    June 20, 2012 at 10:14 pm

  10. Hello Gustavo,

    You can purchase the kit right off the site. There are “buy” buttons on this page.
    http://www.theledart.com/blog/archives/337

    As for the enclosure design, I can send you the data file, as I don’t have samples around. The enclosure was made as an example of how you can use the kit. If you have a 3D printer, you can simply print the data file.

    Thank you,
    Aki

    May 9, 2012 at 11:37 am

  11. Rick L

    Hi Aki,

    I found your site via Instructables. Aurora is gorgeous in all its forms! I also really like the board design/layout. I’m a big fan of SMT boards, in fact, I rarely do a through hole design anymore. Thanks for putting this great LED Art out there.

    RL

    May 7, 2012 at 12:23 am

    • Hello RL,

      Thanks for your comment. It took me a while before starting with SMT, but now I prefer it too. I like the aesthetic, but there are some devices that are only available as SMD, so it’s a necessity.

      Aki

      May 7, 2012 at 8:22 am

  12. Brent

    My son and I came across your site while researching projects for him to build. We are both blown away by your work. Could you point us Ina good direction to learn some of this stuff, books to read, things to try…? My son is crazy about electronics .
    We look forward to seeing your next creation.
    Brent

    March 9, 2012 at 11:09 am

    • Hello Brent,

      I used to be a kid who’s crazy about electronics as well…
      I used to go to libraries and read any science books I could find. I think basic understanding of electronics (voltage, current, ohm’s law) is essential, because no matter how sophisticated your projects become, you use the basic skills all the time. I can’t give you reference to books, because those books won’t be available any longer :) I’m taking about 30+ years ago!
      I’d say try anything, but simple things first. Microcontrollers are fun, but can be confusing if you don’t have the basic electronics skills, because you won’t know if it’s hardware or software that’s not working as expected.

      Good luck, and have fun.

      Aki

      March 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm

  13. Do you have any built finished products for sale? I’m building a astronaut suit for a circus show.

    January 28, 2012 at 11:15 am

  14. Martin

    I love it! Is it possible to purchase a fully assembled Aurora9x18 anywhere?

    -Martin

    January 20, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    • Hello Martin,

      I don’t have any, not even parts of Aurora 9×18 now. I will let you know if I get some available.

      Aki

      January 28, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    • Martin

      Thanks Aki! Do you have an idea of how much it would cost me to have you assemble one when you do get the parts?

      -Martin

      February 2, 2012 at 5:42 pm

  15. Ardy Zara

    Dear LED Art,

    Our company is a manufacturer of LED lighting fixtures for residential use. We would like to collaborate with you and produce a table lamp using the Auroa design. Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you.

    January 18, 2012 at 6:41 pm

  16. Dear LEDart,

    I am a Design Technology teacher in the UK and am looking to develop a project on sustainable technology. I am impressed with the mini aurora kit and would like to know if you could make 80+ kits to be shipped to the UK for end of January?

    I understand you prefer PayPal payment and this can be arranged on reaching an agreed price.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon and Merry Christmas.

    Kindest regards

    Ray Cilia MEd. Cantab

    Lead Teacher of Design Technology
    Newquay Tretherras Acadmey
    Newquay
    Cornwall
    TR3 7HL

    December 21, 2011 at 6:41 am

  17. I think all your projects here are amazing. They look sensational.

    I created a 8x8x8 RBG cube http://www.vespine.com/p/8x8x8-rgb-led-cube.html that I have mostly finished about 6 months ago. I would very much like to program more patterns into it but I’m not a strong programmer. I was actually wondering if you would consider sharing your code? I understand your project is commercial now so you might not want to, but I thought I’d ask anyway.

    My project is using a PIC 32 and TLC5940 LED drivers, not the micro’s PWM, maybe if your pattern code was separate you’d consider sending me just that? Instead of the whole firmware. I don’t think I’d be able to implement any of your code into my cube anyway given they work differently, but I thought I could probably learn a lot from your approach. Anyway, like I said, I understand if you don’t want to share it for free, so don’t worry, but if you would consider it, I’d be very greatful. I’d be happy to share my code with you but I’m sure it looks like a dog’s breakfast compared to your work:)
    Best of luck with your future projects.
    -Vespine

    October 22, 2011 at 10:22 am

  18. Dan White

    How will you notify us that the Joule thief night light kit is available?
    Dan

    September 4, 2011 at 1:28 pm

  19. rookiepeng

    Hi, Aki
    Your aurora is really awesome, and I planed to make one myself following your introduction on instructables.com. I use the Atmega8 and I had almost finished the code. I will show you some pictures or videos after finished if you like :-).

    Thank you for your great idea!

    July 9, 2011 at 9:57 am

    • Sounds great! Please let me know how it turns out.
      Atmega8? I could not imagine doing it with a 8 bit micro myself…

      Aki

      July 9, 2011 at 11:43 am

  20. I would like to purchase a Aurora 9 X 18 in kit form. When will it be available and how much will it sell for?

    July 6, 2011 at 6:59 pm

  21. rclay701

    Aki – Congratulations on winning the Instructables – truly a great project – both in terms of concept and execution. Lots of hours I’m sure. I’ve built the Instructables 8x8x8 LED cube and am working on the Lumisense eightcube project.

    Do you have any PCBs for the Aurora? I am seeing lots of requests coming your way. I would be very interested in at least one – maybe two. I have also left a comment for you on the Instructables site.

    Again – well done!

    Rick

    June 30, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    • Thanks Rick.
      I replied on Instructables, but I’m working on a more builder friendly project to release on Instructables, and to make the kit/PCB available.
      Please stay tuned.

      Aki

      June 30, 2011 at 11:07 pm

  22. Steve L.

    Hi there Wizard!

    Like so many people that have seen your outstanding creations, I’d also love to either purchase a “kit” or perhaps an assembled Aurora 9 X 18.

    I have built one of Hypnocubes 4x4x4 kits and it was labor of pure joy for me. However the circular shape plus the outstanding programming and gamma corrections you have pulled from the ether are awesome!

    I have read that you do not intend to offer a 9 X 18 kit so how much would you sell one for?

    I am a healthcare provider and deal with dementia and Alzheimer clients and use a combination of color, meditation, and sound in their treatment and would really LOVE to use your 9 X 18 in our work.

    Thank you much.
    Steve Liss

    June 22, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    • Hello Steve,

      Thank you for your comments and sorry for my late reply.

      Sounds interesting. I’d love to hear more about how you use lights in your care. Maybe my obsession with LEDs is something to do with my need for therapy? ;)

      Thank you,
      Aki

      June 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm

  23. ss1969

    Hi sir,
    Though hard to say, I need your help on building an aurora led art. I have already read the guide on instructables, since you have published the circuit and firmware, can you send me a copy of pcb design file? like gerber or something.

    Thanks in advance.

    ss1969

    June 20, 2011 at 1:41 am

  24. Andy

    Hi, I too would be interested in a pcb and source code if available. Thanks Andy

    June 17, 2011 at 5:54 pm

  25. Alan Sailer

    Aki,

    I found out about your project from instructables. Did not read the whole thing, so I missed the code avalibility.

    I felt that the board availability was the most important issue.

    How can I find out when the Ebay auctions happen?

    Cheers.

    Alan Sailer

    June 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm

  26. Aditya Satpute

    Hey Aki ,
    You could have implemented as many PWM channels as you needed if you could use an FPGA. Besides .. the number of pins available on a regular FPGA are usually much higher than a high end MCU. I work for a semiconductor distributor in India. We have these Actel chips for as cheap as 2~3$ A3P060-VQ100 p/n to be precise. I’m planning to make the Aurora PCB in India and assemble it as well, am wondering if you could share the PCB files.

    Regards ,
    Aditya

    June 16, 2011 at 6:25 am

  27. Alan Sailer

    Aki,

    Wonderful effect.

    If you are willing to sell a PC board and give access to the code, I am pretty sure I could handle getting the parts and making the assembly.

    Let me know if this is possible. It would be good to add this to my wall of light effects.

    Cheers.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:56 pm

  28. Hi LED Artist!

    I just noticed your crazy awesome Aurora lights on your blog. I work at Instructables.com and wanted to let you know about the LED Contest we launched, I think your project would be perfect for entry. We’re giving away a laser etched iPad 2 and some other great prizes!

    Please get in touch with me an I can help get you set up and bring your project to our 10 million visitors. Let me know if you have any questions or if you have any other LED projects you would like to share!

    Cheers,

    Mike
    http://www.instructables.com/contest/led2011

    June 9, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    • Hello Mike,

      Thank you so much for letting me know about the contest. I’d love to enter, but as you can see, Aurora 9×18 might be a bit too difficult for most people to build, not to mention that I’m not planning to sell them as kits.
      However I can create an instructable for a simpler project of essentially the same concept. Possibly bread-boarding? I want the reader to be able to actually follow the instructions and build the project.

      Please share your thoughts on this. Do you think it’s better to have something that just “looks good”, or have a “do-able” instructable?

      Thanks a lot!
      Aki

      June 9, 2011 at 10:15 pm

  29. Louis

    hi aki,

    I really like lights,music and technology. For awhile ive known about led’s and their wide versatility but more recently when coming across what you’ve made and some others, you can really program the leds and create anything you want with the right knowledge of the subject. when i found your work it really made me want to do learn how to create such awesome projects. I really have very little knowledge of even basic circuitry, but i have done small basic coding and little electronic projects, so i know the fundamentals of how those kind of things work. i would like to know enough to start doing things on my own without following guides step by step. if you have any information for a fresh beginner it would be appreciated and hopefully eventually i could make something like you!

    Thanks

    June 5, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    • Hello Louis,

      I’ve always been into technology, especially electronics ever since I was little. I always tinker with anything around the house – toys, radio, TV, record player… I’d break them apart, then put them back together, some times successfully, sometimes not. I guess my parents were supportive.

      I started building stuff, like simple electronics kits, or from scratch following books.
      I remember studying electronics theory intensely when I was in junior high. Reading books every day (Internet didn’t exist) and trying out things…
      Aside from some basic electronics education at school, I did not study electronics further. (I chose computer programming instead.) However my passion for building “things” with hands did not dye, and I started my LED projects about 10 years ago.

      I believe you can learn anything if you have a passion for it. Internet provides so much information, however at the same time, one can feel like learned something without actually doing anything. This can be dangerous. One must exercise the craft to make the information into knowledge.

      Anyway, good luck.

      Aki

      June 6, 2011 at 3:07 pm

  30. Steve

    Aki

    The Aurora 9×18 is a great project!

    I’ve already bread-boarded the circuit, any chance of getting your code to try for myself?

    I’m using the PIC24F08KA101-E/P PDIP version of the chip

    Thanks
    Steve

    June 5, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    • Wow! really?
      Can you send me a pic?

      Aki

      June 5, 2011 at 7:14 pm

  31. Greg Vosper

    Hi,
    I really like your projects… they are all spectacular! I would love to buy some kits or bare boards in order to learn about microcontrollers.
    Are they or will they be available?
    I initially found your site because I was looking for a kit to build an led simulated rotating beacon for my full size homebuilt aircraft.
    Are you interested in developing the board and code for me so that I can package a kit or manufacture complete units?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have not been able to find a suitable and cost effective beacon anywhere.
    Thanks,

    Greg Vosper

    gregvosper@rogers.com

    March 23, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    • Hello Greg,

      I’m glad that you like my projects.

      I don’t have kits or boards for sell now, but I might put together something in the future. The ones that I’ve made are most likely too difficult to assemble for all but experienced builders.

      That being said, if you have a particular one in mind, let me know and I will consider selling a unit.

      Also please share your projects – let me know if you have a website.

      Thanks,
      Aki

      March 24, 2011 at 11:11 am

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