Meshed Jellies

V 1.0 - September 2023

Music Is Art - Buffalo, NY - 9/9/23
Ingenuity Festival - Cleveland, OH - 9/22-24/23

Uses ESP32/Arduino, FastLED, PainlessMesh. Approx. 18 devices were hung above the audience, communicating within a mesh network. Occasionally an individual will randomly choose to change color or pattern. Once doing so, it broadcasts messages to the network of devices, inviting its fellow creatures to match its updated state. These changes propagate through the mesh leading to stable, fractured, and changing group behavior. The probabilities chosen for the first version lead to gradual change with points of relative chaos and many more moments of relative stasis.

The project is meant to embrace a biological or ecological metaphor or narrative. Creatures grow and get damaged ("injured" ), for example. Several version updates should lead to the gradual evolution of the group of devices/individuals. The metaphors and concepts behind this installation will get explored in future posts as I (with help from others) build this out with more sophisticated algorithms and larger groups.

Specs & Parameters

  • LEDs used: SM2812B (coating: none)
  • Density: 60/meter
  • total strips: many offcuts of 4-6 LEDs
  • cut-and-solder: yes, should be OK for short runs
  • mounting: wired together into creature/bundle.
  • power: 1X 5V 10A line shared with several jellies (speaker wiring/5V)
  • data: 6 lines used for each
  • brain: ESP32 pico
  • versions: 2
    • build version 1 (Music is Art, 9/23)
    • build version 2 w/ minimal software updates (Ingenuity Fest, 9/23)