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Sick laser scanner brings interactive sculpture to life

Published: 2 February 2015 - Marianne Evans

An art installation has used Sick LMS Laser scanners in a surprising new way to create a fascinating interactive experience as part of Canary Wharf’s Winter Lights Festival.

The small, rugged LMS 111 2D scanners, more usually installed for building security and other detection and measurement uses, were loaned by Sick UK to Canadian/Colombian artist Daniel Iregui (Iregular) to create his “Control No Control”  light cube installation in Montgomery Square as one of 11 exhibits at the festival.

Control No Control is an interactive LED Sculpture that invites passers-by to act on its sound and graphics.  As they touch its 4m2 LED faces, four Sick Laser scanners positioned inside the cube plot the x-y position of each hand or body interaction. 

The raw data is then converted by specially-designed software to create random variations of sound and light effects, based on the measured positions. There are five different audio-graphic cycles , each exploring a geometric pattern, its audio representation and how it reacts to bodily gestures. The system also has the capability to remember previous positions, so that two interactions are never the same.

“I am very grateful to Sick UK for loaning me the scanners, without which the sculpture would not have been possible,” said Iregui. “I need to use Sick LMS scanners because of their pinpoint accuracy as well as their ability to withstand the elements outdoors.  Many of my installations are in public spaces and the scanners I use need to be waterproof and to work at very low temperatures.”

The Control No Control sculpture has also been to cities around the world, including in Jerusalem, Paris, Mexico City and in Iregui’s home town of Montreal.  The software that feeds the data from the scanners to the audio-visual software Iregui created is X-Agora, developed by a Montreal multimedia studio.

Iregui explained: “My work is based around disrupting people’s expectations of public spaces and making them aware of the places they take for granted.  Workers and passers-by at Canary Wharf were drawn in to interact with the cube and see how it threw light and sound on the surrounding square, its buildings and trees.  The cube remains in idle mode until someone touches it. Once that happens more people tend to come and join them; many stayed over half an hour or more.”

Said Tim Stokes, Sick UK’s laser sensor product specialist:  “LMS laser scanners are more usually installed to protect artworks in galleries and museums, or on high-end security or anti-collision systems, so it is a delight to see them being used as part of the art itself. Daniel’s work is certainly surprising, intriguing and thought-provoking and we are already excited to see his next installation.”

The Canary Wharf Winter Lights Festival runs from 5th to 30th January 2015. 

Industry Connections: SICK (UK) Ltd


 
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