Our intention with this project was to abstract the experience of seeing Bio luminescent algae . Our Bio Lanterns are a interactive light fixture that encapsulates the feeling of seeing and interacting with bio luminescent algae. When given that task of abstracting the Bio-luminescent algae we looked at why and how these creatures light up. Upon investigation we learned that when these plankton are introduced to the oxygen then would light up,. This gave us the idea of using touch as a component in our project. By touching the lanterns you are disturbing them and introducing them to oxygen thus lighting them up . The Mechanical aspect of the project was to have a series of flex sensors that upon the lanterns being moved they would send a signal to LEDs placed among the lanterns to light up, creating that blue light you would see with the algae. When developing this project we started with just an array of felt to led enclosed in fabric. to a series of interconnected tubes that contained LEDs. One of the main challenges we faced was the flex sensors. there was not great way of housing these LEDS to they would remain flexible enough to still register the lanterns movements. This made testing of the lanterns very difficult.
in our first iteration we ended up with just LEDS placed in the fabric and that would be the container for the lights. This was a simple choice but not one that we wanted to continue with. It didn't hold the LEDs away from the fabric at a consistent rate so the dampening of the light would be uniform. Secondly the joint we designed for this section was a series of spine like 3D printed objects that would hold the lanterns and the flex sensor. This would lead to inconsistent movement among the lanterns as the strength of the spines was different.
One of the later iterations ,made use of laser cut disk to hold the fabric away from the LED creating a much more consistent light coming from the lanterns secondly we continued to use the spines for our connection piece, Hindsight being 20/20 we can now say that the flex sensor and the spines were not the best way of going about our intention.