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Witch Lights: NeoPixel Lights in the Woods – Seen at Firefly Arts Festival

Seen at Firefly Arts Festival 2015 – 2018, Witch Lights are Jazz DiMauro’s modular installation of NeoPixel strips triggered by a PIR sensor. Simple but effective (especially at night in the woods!) with really thorough and extensive documentation (and code!) here at GitHub. Once triggered, the LEDs appear to buzz along like a ‘firefly’ or other bug along the lengths of NeoPixel strips. I especially dig moments where the LED ‘bug’ appears to bounce back and forth – funny how it is possible to give electronics insectomorphic qualities (with the right code)!

Imagine: as you walk through the unlit path, a tiny purple faerie jumps out of the underbrush, coiling about trees and floating overhead. It zips ahead of you, but pauses, flickering, while you catch up. It then takes off again, remaining always just out of reach, until you reach the end of their territory, where they vanish back into the woods. As you pass by where they disappeared, the lights jump out again, heading back the other way, daring you to chase them.

The design of the lighting system is modular, so it can be used with any length of NeoPixel strip. The current configuration of the project uses five 30 pixel-per-meter NeoPixel strips, each one five meters long, for a total of 750 pixels.

The design uses waterproof conduit, connected to custom, modular connectors, which house the sensors and connect the NeoPixel strips to their power and data lines.

At the beginning and end of the installation are passive infrared (PIR) motion sensors, which trigger the lights to appear and then zip away in the opposite direction of the triggered sensor.

Read more here at GitHub.

Here’s a video from 2016 showing the lights in an all-dark setting:

Read more here at GitHub.


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