“Urban Pixels” are wireless, solar-powered lighting units for cities that blur the boundary between digital display technology and traditional urban lighting. By combining a renewable energy source with RF communication it is possible to achieve a self-sustaining, distributed display network that can be attached to any building surface and reconfigured with ease. Depending on their configuration and placement, Urban Pixels can be used to convey place-specific information, respond to environmental conditions or support creative expression in urban public spaces. We are currently also developing a floating version of the pixels.
Three generations of prototpyes have been developed to date.
The key components of the system are: RF radio, microprocessor, LEDs, solar cells, battery pack. The current design of the pixels integrates communication, lighting and solar charging.
Urban Pixels could be installed on any vertical or horizontal surface, on buildings or urban furniture or other infrastructure. We are also developing a floating version to be tested in Scotland.
This research is supported by the MIT Media Lab sponsor consortia and Highlands & Islands Enterprise in particular.
Professor William J. Mitchell, Prof. of Architecture and Media Arts & Sciences
Susanne Seitinger, PhD student, Smart Cities Group, MIT Media Lab
Danny Perry (B.A. 2008, MEng 2009)
Collaboration with Richard Wilson, Distance Lab, Forres, Scotland
Past undergraduate research assistants: Ellen Yi Chen; Praveen Rathinavelu; Kelley Hutchins; Dawood Rouben
With assistance from Peter Schmitt, Mark Feldmeier, and Sajid Sadi. With support from Distance Lab, Forres, Scotland as well as Rab Gordon from Rainnea CNC. The concept was first presented by Franco Vairani and Susanne Seitinger in the Zaragoza Digital Mile workshop at MIT in 2005.