Lighting Symphony
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Lighting Symphony

May 19, 2015

The inspiration for our project came from a rather unconventional place, as we had initially intended to pursue another project. We felt that the use of a piano in conjunction with the Pausch bridge could help symbolize the meeting of CS and art that the bridge itself was intended to represent. Moreover, especially in reconsidering our previous project proposal, we felt that we would prefer to have a project that allowed for direct interaction between the individual and the bridge, rather than say, relying on sensors, which while affectable by the movement of individuals, still presented something of a barrier between people and the bridge lights. We also decided not to go with a collective control model because we felt that it would be preferable if the bridge would act in exactly the way the individual user desired, without having to take into account the inputs of multiple users. This is to represent CMU’s value in direct interaction and involvement with the world.
So for our project, we used the Lumiverse platform because while it was less of a WYSIWYG sort of environment, it allowed us to interact with all the other frameworks and packages that came with python, and thus allowed us to expand the spectrum of devices and other things that we could get to interface with our project. This was important because we did use pygame to read the input of the midi keyboard, which we were not sure we could do on the Pharos platform. This would allow the computer to read individual key depressions and releases in real time and also send them to the server in real time. This also gave us the unexpected advantage of being able to read the force with which the piano keys were depressed, which allowed us to add add to the project’s visual effect.
When using our project, the bridge essentially reflects the piano keys, with sections turning on and off as certain keys are depressed and released. Additionally, the color changes based upon the pitch of the key depressed, with a darker blue representing lower notes and a lighter green representing higher ones. Additionally, the brightness of the panel that lights up is dependent upon the force with which the corresponding key is depressed and consequently, corresponds with the relative volume of the note played.

Alex Voskuil
Alexander Chai
Joo Yun Han
Mark Wuebbens
Rohan Gupta
Song Zhang