For this project, I wanted to explore flocking behavior. Rather than letting a screen mediate the interaction between observer and flocking behavior, I used a strand of 25 LED lights to create a physical embodiment of flocking behavior. Each individual light is mapped to one of 25 birds flying through simulated 3-D RGB space. Birds cannot overlap, yet they exhibit flocking behavior. As a result, all lights are always in the same color family, yet no two lights are ever the exact same color at a particular instance.
I used a Processing language version of Dan Shiffman’s 3-D Flocking Boids example that I edited to exhibit the flocking behavior I had in mind, in addition to a set of 25 lights that I bought from Adafruit. I used an Arduino to control the lights, adding my own control code on top of the demo code that Adafruit provides. I’m not sure I like how I mounted the lights in a straight line on a white background, but that was mostly to more clearly demonstrate the colors changing. In actuality, I would imagine these lights being attached to a wall or ceiling in a more interesting layout.