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Astrawlogy (MIT Media Lab x Chibitronics)

Funded by MIT Media Lab, Council for the Arts MIT and Chibitronics, Astrawlogy explores the materials side of computational media through blending handcrafted circuitry with 27,000 translucent drinking straws. It is an interactive installation showcasing the relationship with constellations utilizing translucent straws and Chibitronics LED stickers to emit light at various intensities.

The straws are arranged vertically over the LEDs and sensors to create a screen of pixels that that are both electronically active as well as modulated by the different lengths and clustering straws. A hexagon honeycomb pattern is created on top of a grid system to break up the overall image while variations in the height of the straws indicate the concentration of LEDs at a selected area. Behind this screen of straws is circuitry tracing out the constellations of the of the zodiac. These are activated and fade on through an animation when viewers shine a bright light source, like a laser, at designated straws. Other lights gently twinkle in the background, adding a persistent natural dynamism to the scene. The overall effect evokes a digital pixelation of the night sky that grows brighter, and reveals even more, when illuminated by the viewer’s own curious source of light.

Team: Jie Qi (Chibitronics), Red Hong Yi, Mond Qu (UDMK), Vanessa Bong.

Funded by MIT Media Lab, Council for the Arts MIT and Chibitronics, Astrawlogy explores the materials side of computational media through blending handcrafted circuitry with 27,000 translucent drinking straws. It is an interactive installation showcasing the relationship with constellations utilizing translucent straws and Chibitronics LED stickers to emit light at various intensities.

The straws are arranged vertically over the LEDs and sensors to create a screen of pixels that that are both electronically active as well as modulated by the different lengths and clustering straws. A hexagon honeycomb pattern is created on top of a grid system to break up the overall image while variations in the height of the straws indicate the concentration of LEDs at a selected area. Behind this screen of straws is circuitry tracing out the constellations of the of the zodiac. These are activated and fade on through an animation when viewers shine a bright light source, like a laser, at designated straws. Other lights gently twinkle in the background, adding a persistent natural dynamism to the scene. The overall effect evokes a digital pixelation of the night sky that grows brighter, and reveals even more, when illuminated by the viewer’s own curious source of light.

Team: Jie Qi (Chibitronics), Red Hong Yi, Mond Qu (UDMK), Vanessa Bong.

Rotate 90° to portrait for full experience.