Cultural Arts Park Interactive Lighting

Creative Motion Sensing Light Fixtures for Public Park

In early 2014 Digital Ambiance was contacted by O’Dell Engineering to develop an interactive lighting system for the upcoming Cultural Arts District Park in downtown Fresno, CA.  Over the course of the next 6 months we developed the concept of using heat sensitive FLIR cameras to track the motion of pedestrians walking under giant conical shade structures.  This motion tracking data would then be used to produce generative lighting patterns within the canopies on circular arrays of powerful LED wash fixtures.

The process of submitting a fleshed out design, winning the bid, working with the general contractor, and installing the final piece took us the next year and a half.  We partnered with Visible to develop the interactive lighting control solution for the FLIR cameras.  Visible created a custom tracking algorithm and integrated it into their lighting control system, LightAct Media Server.  Custom generative light patterns written by the designers at Anticlockwise Arts would play across the canopies, seeded by the locations of the people down below.  The algorithm works on 15 thermal camera feeds simultaneously, tracking the locations of everyone in the park.  The effects written by Anticlockwise were seamlessly integrated with LightAct via its plugin system.

Here we are, 2 years later and the final product is stunning. The Cultural Arts Park has been a long-awaited green space for Fresno residents, and we are so excited to be apart of it’s creation. Not only is this installation another successful and high profile project under our belts, but it’s also our first city-contracted public arts project, and hopefully, the first of many to come.

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