Pixel Perfect

LEDs have busted open all kinds of possibilities. The little glowing things are just so... versatile.

Element Labs uses LEDs in several very cool applications, using real-time video controllers to turn anything from a room to a stadium into a moving, evolving video display.

Versa RAY. Installation at Doha Asian Games, 2007. Manufactured by Element Labs.

Their Stealth, VersaRAY and VersaTUBE products have lit up Led Zeppelin and Police reunion concerts, the Grammy Awards, and the Super Bowl Halftime show.

But for those interested in working on a smaller scale, there's VersaTILES. These 10 cm by 10 cm squares are edge-lit by LEDs connected to a video controller; each tessera acts as a single pixel on your computer screen. You can do basic patterns, swirls and ripples of color... or anything you can imagine, or can program a computer to imagine.


VersaTILE. Manufactured by Element Labs.

Charles Forman

used them in an innovative way in the entrance to the Children's Hospital of the Hackensack University Medical Center. He wanted something interactive, and used a camera feedback system to allow children playing in front of a fountain to affect the way the patterns ripple through the VersaTILE backdrop.

"Personally, being a minimalist, I don't care much for paintings on the wall. I think that space should be functional and it should serve an effective purpose," says Forman. He certainly achieved that with his VersaTILE fountain, which turns a scary space for children into one that's a little more happy.


Installation at Children's Hospital of the Hackensack University Medical Center. Designed by Charles Forman.

Posted March 19, 2008 by Jeremy Bloom

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