Y-Light: A Solar Powered Neo Pixel LED Lamp

Lamps. A mundane yet vital object that has had an exponential effect on our lives as humans. It wasn’t until the invention of gas lamps that people started working at night. In fact, Baltimore became the first US city to be lit by gas in 1816. Light at night, lead to more profit and productivity inside the mills and factories during the industrial revolution. Light fueled the rapid growth of capitalism. 

Today, artificial light is all around us. From the cold light of our computers, to the fluorescent overhead lights in our offices. We take light for granted. Why do lamps look the way that they do? How did they evolve to be designed that way? From the Hurricane Lantern designed in 1840 to the mass produced Ikea lamps of today. What shapes and forms are inherent and synonymous with lamps? Can the strong structural elements of typography and letterforms give form to light? 

The Y-Light is a solar powered lamp that charges a lithium ion polymer battery and runs using a Circuit Python code on a Adafruit FeatherBoard. The light is made up of neo-pixel light emitting diodes. The lamp is inspired by the structural form of the letter “Y.”

First, I soldered and coded the mechanical parts of the lamp. Then, I cut the wood structure using a table saw and miter saw. After that, I jointed it all together with a biscuit jointer and glue. I created inlays for the solar panel and the lights using a mill machine. For the concrete base I created a wooden mold with metal rods for screws to later go through.

Check out Y-Light on the MICA Senior Thesis page!

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