capacitive body

reactive light installation / 2008

A modular light system that reacts to the sound of its environment.

together with

Martin Hesselmeier



Martin Hesselmeier




Each custom built module consists of an electroluminescent light wire linked to a piezoelectric sensor and a microcontroller. Through its modular setup it can easily be adapted to various urban spaces. The sensors are used to measure vibrations of architectural solids in a range of low frequencies. These oscillations are triggered by surrounding ambient noise, for example traffic noise. The sensor data controls the light wires, which are tensed to a spatial net structure. According to the values of the measurement light flashes are generated. With increasing vibrations the time between flashes becomes shorter and shorter. The stability of this nervous system gets to an end where it collapses and restarts again. A dynamic light space is thereby created, which creates a visual feedback of the aural activity around the installation.


hardware / software

The microcontroller of each module is based on the physical computing platform Arduino and was custom built for this project. Each module has its own simple program logic and there is no digital connection between the elements. Their behavior is triggered by the aural conditions of the environment.




Prof. Frans Vogelaar (Department of Hybrid Space)

Martin Nawrath (support hardware)