Siemens graduate engineers have developed an innovative, location-based lighting system used in the Green Space Dark Skies project to create works of art in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The lights, named Geolights, were designed to enable thousands of people to participate in creating art exhibitions in beautiful landscapes, led by Walk the Plank and commissioned as part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK.
Over 20,000 volunteers from all walks of life, many of whom often do not experience the beauty of the countryside due to urban, physical or cultural constraints, will create awe-inspiring lighting patterns using the Geolights which will be captured on film and broadcast in the form of short online films.
Manchester-based Siemens graduates Annabel Ohene and Nathaniel Fernandes worked on the devices, alongside engineering interns Sam Rhodes and Sam Newton, who joined the team during the development phase.
Devices being developed include GPS-enabled technology as well as innovations such as the Internet of Things (IoT), real-time location tracking, energy storage and wireless connectivity.
By remotely changing the color of the lights, each participant, or “Lumenator”, will effectively become a pixel in a coordinated image of live artwork in the landscape.
Geolights was designed to allow thousands of people to participate in the creation of artistic exhibitions in magnificent landscapes. Credit: Green Space Dark Skies, (Dinas Dinlle), photographer: Geraint Thomas
Engineers have worked with lighting company CORE Lighting, to integrate Siemens processing technology into CORE luminaires manufactured in Gloucester, using mostly parts supplied in the UK.
Nathaniel Fernandes, graduate engineer at Siemens, said: “Working on this project really tested what is possible in self-locating lighting systems in an outdoor environment. It’s been great to work on something that has a fantastic social purpose, but also has potential applications in industries like manufacturing and logistics, where outdoor geolocation can support automation. It’s a perfect example of technology that can benefit organizations as well as people.
Robin Phillips, Head of Siemens Advanta Consulting UK, said: “Green Space Dark Skies and UNBOXED lead fantastic initiatives celebrating both arts and science. This is a project where the talents of our graduates really shined and they were instrumental in inventing the technology needed to make this large-scale project work. We are excited to see the exhibits as part of the events.
John Wassell, Creative Producer, Green Space Dark Skies and Co-Founder of Walk the Plank, said: “Green Space Dark Skies celebrates nature, our responsibility to protect it and our right to explore the countryside. Technology is a milestone for event lighting – it means event managers can coordinate and automate displays in outdoor environments in new and interesting ways.
Phil Ion, Managing Director of CORE Lighting, said: “The technological breakthrough created by the Geolights and its control system is the result of a long design and testing process, crammed into just a few months. Designing, tooling and sourcing everything in today’s undersupplied market has been extremely difficult under tight deadlines. This innovation has created a concept the event lighting industry has never seen before, allowing any event involving a medium to large gathering of people to be transformed into a massive lighting show and will be considered a milestone for event technology.
The next event will take place on June 11, 2022 at the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Green Space Dark Skies is open to everyone, and anyone can register to participate.
Read more of our leadership and strategy articles here