Category Archives: Blog

Lichts aus, LEDs an

Gestern hat das Projekt Sentient Light einen wichtigen Meilenstein erreicht – die erste Seite der Baumsäule erstrahlt in rund 600 LEDs. 

Aber der Reihe nach: Unter Federführung von Matthias hat das Elektronik Team die Stromversorgung einer Seite des Baums fertiggestellt. Um die 5m langen LED Streifen kontinuierlich mit der benötigten Spannung von 5 Volt zu versorgen, kommen auf jeder der vier Seiten der Säule zwei DC-DC-Wandler zum Einsatz. Diese wandeln die 12 Volt, welche das Netzteil bereitstellt, in 5 Volt um. Die LED Streifen besitzen jeweils vier Einspeispunkte, welche mit 5 Volt versorgt werden.

Verkabelung einer Baumsäule

Bevor die DC-DC-Wandler an der Säule angebracht werden konnten, wurden sie in flammenhämmenden Aufputzdosen platziert und mit Kabeln für Ein- und Ausgänge versehen. Die Kabelstränge wurden anschließend an der Säule hochgeführt und in teils luftigen Höhen an die DC-DC-Wandler gelötet.

DC-DC-Wandler in einer Aufputzdose

Dank der Unterstützung der Baumhaus Crew bestehend aus Simon, Max und Ule konnten wir die erste Baumseite tatsächlich kurz vor Mitternacht zum Leuchten bringen. Bevor der Baum in vollem Glanz erstrahlen kann folgen im Laufe der nächsten Woche die restlichen drei Seiten.

Die Ostseite des Baums

Sentient Light Vision

Sentient Light is a generic system which reactively controls LEDs. Using parameters from the surroundings, such as the presence and motion of people moving in the space, the system can change the color and intensity of light installations throughout the room. This makes the room is ‘intelligent’ in the sense that it can react to the behaviour of people in the space.  We hope is that this technology can be used passively and actively by visitors to inspire more sentient and emergent behaviour.

The project is currently being realized in Baumhaus Berlin. Das Baumhaus is a project and event space in Berlin Wedding where people can meet, collaborate and work on social and ecological projects and other topics related to sustainable development and making the world a better place in general.  Baumhaus also offers services from a sustainable solutions collective of over 100 interdisciplinary freelancers.



Project goals

The aim of the project is the conception and realization of a reactive light installation which can be used inside Das Baumhaus Berlin. This includes design, manufacturing and firmware coding.


The general idea is to measure environmental parameters using sensors and to transfer measured values to a central processing device. There all the values will be aggregated and transformed by a mapping engine.

sentient light - konzept


Transformed values in turn will be sent to actors which will use them as input values.

Bluetooth Smart

Sensors, actors and the processing device communicate via radio signals using Bluetooth Smart and span a network of things. It features a simple protocol stack and low energy consumption and is supported by most smartphones and tablets.

Sentient Light wins VDI competition “Mensch und Technik” VDI

Like the year before the Association of German Engineers (VDI) called for participation of engineering students from Berlin an Brandenburg on challenge Mensch und Technik (people and technology). Until 30 September 2016 teams of up to three students could hand in a poster and a brief description of a project having a strong connection to both people and technology.

So we have taken this competition as a reason to create some visuals about our project. The poster we have designed can be seen in the Baumhaus soon.

sentient light - poster_en

Mid November VDI announced that our team is invited to the award ceremony – yeah! On 25 November the award ceremony took place at Ludwig Erhard Haus near Berlin Zoologischer Garten.


Team Sentient Light and prof. Hausburg

At the beginning of the event the most successful graduates of technical classes in Berlin and Brandenburg were honored. Speakers of the VDI emphasized the challenges to address and solve challenges of the modern and connected city. Presindet of Technische Hochschule Brandenburg (University of Applied Sciences) – Prof. Dr. Wieneke-Toutaoui – also outlined today’s possibilities as an engineering stundent to make the world a better place. In this context she also mentioned the increased but nonetheless low amount of female students in engineering.

Other speakers appealed to the students’ entrepreneurial spirit. One quote by Reid Hoffman stayed in memory

„If you are not embarassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched to late.“

– Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder of LinkedIn

After that the top three award-winning teams were announced. At this point we did not yet not know which place we would be.

In reverse order the teams were asked to come on stage: third place went to a team of two students who made use of an Aldebaran Nao robot in order to translate spoken language into sign language. The second price went to one student who developed a technique to reduce airplane noise by using liners.

And the winner is…

Sentient Light could convince the jury and was awarded with the first price. None of us expected this kind of success. Even more we are all happy receiving this appreciation for our work.

In a brief speech Prof. Hausburg summed up the project as the integration of a technical solution in a social environment which directly reflects people’s dynamics and interactions.

Finally all the three teams had the opportunity to present their concepts and posters in details and were able to answer questions. The increased interest in our project motivated us to present the different aspects in more detail. Part one: the project vision.

Spring cleaning #tt Session 2015/03/19

After an eight week break we have met for the first #tt session this Thursday. We started collecting ideas for the rest of the year.

Like last year we will focus on our Android projects Sauvignon and Lymbo. We will also continue conducting research in terms of Bluetooth low energy. A new object of research will be the container tool docker.

Furthermore we want to support the open space Baumhaus Berlin in terms of their website Redesign.

Before we will start working on our projects we will have to do a spring cleaning regarding our blog as well as the documentation and release management of our Android apps.

In detail we plan to

  • clean up our blog
  • translate every blog post to English
  • establish different fdroid repositories for release and development
  • generate and publish Javadoc for Android projects automatically
  • generate and publish a documentation for our Android projects using LaTeX