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Bringing a campus community

Northeastern University, Massachusetts, USA

Find out how LED light innovations are teaching students about communication
Philips Color kinetics lighting at Northeastern University

Light guides
attention and

helps us navigate. For data, it is flexible and allows dynamic representations.”


- Dietmar Offenhuber, Assistant Professor, Northeastern University

Philips Color kinetics lighting at Northeastern University

Customer challenge

Can light be used for more than just illumination? The schooling staff at Northeastern University certainly thinks so. Working in collaboration with Philips Color Kinetics, the institution created an innovative design project that allowed students to communicate information using light.
Philips Color kinetics lighting at Northeastern University

The right lighting

The Northeastern University is creating a bright future for its design students. As well as training them in urban thinking, media, art, and illumination, it helps them connect with a lighting giant: Philips Color Kinetics. Every year, we hire 10-15 students from the institute for six-month work placements. Thanks to our ongoing relationship with the University, we were able to collaborate with it on this inspiring design project.

The idea behind .vote was to explore the role of light in urban displays. To show how illumination could be used to communicate, a fully interactive light façade was designed. 18 strands of iColor Flex SLX (now specified as iColor Flex LMX gen2) were arranged into a rectangular matrix. The matrix was placed behind the glass façade in Ryder Hall, home of the College of Arts, Media and Design. Students then created custom software that could receive data from students’ smartphones and control the light schemes.

With a high-tech lighting installation in place, the students were ready to make magic. People on campus were asked to submit their feelings about finals week, specifying whether they were anxious, relieved, determined, excited, or exhausted. "We thought it could be nice to let people see their voice or to complain in a visual way," said Miriam Zisook, a Ph.D. student studying emotional displays in healthcare. The results of the poll were then displayed by the light façade in bright, vibrant hues, creating an informative visual spectacle. The end result was an installation that truly got people talking.

Thanks to the versatility of the iColor Flex fixtures, students could easily explore different modes of representation. The facade will help future classes to learn, and will allow students to see a new form of art and information on campus.
  • iColor Flex MX gen2
    iColor Flex MX gen2
    • Flexible strings fit nearly any architecture
    • Unmatched flexibility to customize node count and spacing
    • Twice the brightness of previous generation, at same power level

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