If you would like to be involved in the light sculpture project without
enrolling in EE185, please join the project
mailing list. The class focuses on several key parts of the art; there
are many other ways to contribute and help besides the course. There are
weekly workshops on Mondays, which are open to the broader Stanford
community. If you would like to help or contribute, please attend one of
these workshops. Their time and location will be announced on list.
This year the Stanford Electrical Engineering Department celebrates its 125th anniversary.
As part of celebration, we will be designing, engineering and installing an interactive light sculpture
in the 3-story glass stairwell of the Packard building. The sculpture will remain in Packard for 3-5 years,
allowing refinement, exploration of new engineering ideas, and new interactions.
Students taking EE185 will, in collaboration with the course instructors, design, construct, help
install, and program the piece. The course has three instructors: Professor Levis, Professor Horowitz, and
Charles Gadeken, a local fire and light sculpture artist whose pieces have been installed in Palo Alto,
San Francisco, Calabasas, and Robina (Australia).
Each quarter will focus on a different stage of the project:
- Autumn: design and prototyping
- Winter: construction and refinement
- Spring: installation, control, and software
Students are welcome to take the course for any one, two, or all three quarters. The course will rely
on existing skills as well as teach new ones, applying them to a beautiful real-world project that will be
on display at Stanford for several years. Students taking the course should feel confident in one of the
following, and be interested in learning about one or two more:
- Electronics and electrical system design
- Mechanical design and materials
- Artistic design
- Software and programming
Furthermore, CS106A or equivalent programming experience is required.
The course will involve some Python programming and a little bit of C
The fall quarter will focus on the engineering constraints that will influence
Mr. Gadeken's design as well as an artistic exploration of different materials and approaches.
Course material includes:
- Materials, including aluminum, steel, additive manufacturing, and glass
- Motor control and torque
- LEDs and their timing
- Power efficiency and distribution
- Fire and evacuation safety and material constraints
- Designing for maintainability and evolution
- Software abstractions for physical objects
- Sensors and sensor feedback
- Part selection, hardware/software tradeoffs
- 3D printing and mechanical design
Course enrollment in the Autumn is limited to 40 students. If enrollment reaches this
cap the instructors will distributed a survey on the first day to select who may take the course.
The principal goal of the survey is to select a diverse group that has a mix of relevant
skills and backgrounds.