Connecting Light

Aug 31
Sept 1
| 8pm  —  11pm |


Connecting Light @ Hadrian’s Wall – crowdsourcing Images November 12, 2012


To be honest with you, during the two-day performance on the Hadrian’s Wall,  we were working from a room with internet connection inside the farm owner’s home on Vallum Farm the whole time.   All six of us, during the show,  we were reading the messages that you sent and felt thankful for each sentences. We were nervous about the performance about our web server and how it would handle thousands of incoming personal messages submitting from users through our website.  We were constantly logging in to iDigi’s website to monitor all hundreds of Xbee devices and the health of our communication network across 76 miles.     But all we really did was scratching our heads, eating little meal and drinking lots of coffee and some beer, starring at our softwares and the website and the app on our computers and phones , and answering phone calls from our technicians on sites.

So what I’m saying is this, the images that uploaded from Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, all over the internet, news and media had helped us tremendously to see our project and carried us where we couldn’t go.

We are crowdsourcing a gallery of images of Connecting Light on Hadrian’s wall. We had found a few really good images and hope to receive more from people who see this message. If you were there, please send us your images. We would love to credit you on the blog and any press and media use of your photography in the future.


truely yours,

the YesYesNo team


Credits from this collection:

Hadrian’s Wall Heritage, Craig Allan (Ca2Cal on Flickr), Gavin Wilson (GWCumbria on Flickr),  Marilyn MK on Flickr,  lunaryuna on Flickr,  ambo333 on Flickr, OR_U on Flickr

Please send us your images to molmol at openmolmol dot com  ;  Zach at eyebeam dot org

And let us know how to credit your images.



We Thank You, Volunteers!!!

We’ve just compiled a Thank You List for those in NYC who came out and helped.  They were photographers, Grad Students, Designers and Artists, Teachers, Kids …   All names in alphabetical order:


Adrianne Koteen

Aneta Genova

Alec McClure

Allistar Peters

Bruno Kruse

Bernardo Schorr

Claire Mitchell

Carolina Romano

Eszter Ozsvald

Elizabeth Presson

Filipa Tomaz

Francisco Zamorano

Jackson Snellings

Jihyun Lee

Juan Patino

Jon Rygh

John Oneill

John Matthew Griffis

Khen Price

Kasia Witek

Ryan Ong

Robin Reid

Regan Chen and olollo studio

Lorna Fulton

Midori Yasuda

Maya Weinstein

Michael Martinez-Campos

Michell Johanna Cardona

Matt Felsen

Nate Rudolph

Neringa Stonyte

Noa Dolberg

Noah Zerkin

Oliver Rygh

Patricio Gonzalez Vivo

Wouldy Liu

Xuedi Chen


For those who volunteered and donate your time for us, you know who you are,  if you didn’t find your name on our list…  Please pardon us and

send an email to Molmol, and Zach

molmol at openmolmol dot com

Zach at eyebeam dot org



Connecting Light Press and media coverage

Here you can find Connecting Light in news:


Radio Newcastle, Alfie and Charlie breakfast 26 April 2:46:53-2:52:20

Radio Cumbria, Paul Braithwaite drivetime 26 April 0:18:47-0:23:50

Connecting Light – behind the scene September 1, 2012

Tech crew and the volunteers behind the scene set up 400 Connecting Light balloons along the wall.  They were amazing.


Johnny saved the day. August 30, 2012

Vallum Farm – Thursday

Connecting Light – message and SMS to lights – test from Molmol on Vimeo.

Day 2, 80 Xbees hooked up to LEDs and 12V batteries, and controlled by four X4 connect port at Yarm Farm.
The lights are lit when they received incoming message submitted from the website: , as well as SMS messages from mobile phones. Each message contains geo-location information which determined where each lights will be sent to. All the interactions are happening in real time with a delay less than 5 seconds.

Connecting Light – message to lights – Test video August 27, 2012

Connecting Light – message to lights testing from Molmol on Vimeo.

The web server is setup and able to process messages from Connecting Light website, and then send the message to Xbee X4 connect ports via 2G network. The X4 gateways then send the message to 18 xbees that were controlling the lights.

messages coming into the system August 25, 2012

we’re starting to get messages that people are sending in via the website. here are some examples of messages people have posted:

Loading Quotes...

ocean of pcb boards August 22, 2012

we got 170 done thanks to alot of helping hands.  last night, pcbs were everywhere.

assembling lights August 20, 2012

Starting to assemble the hundreds of LED light units.

Day 1-  all 170 Lights  assembled / Total  time 12 hours
Day 2 – all 259 Lights  assembled / Total time 8 hours and 44 minutes

Everyone was posing for with two , five,  and nines in the pictures. The two was done in British style.


Work Space at Cultural Lab, Newcastle University August 17, 2012

The university invited Zach as a visiting professor, and reserved a workspace for Connecting Light at its 3 floors building, the Cultural Lab.


Field Test – Prospect Park in Brooklyn August 13, 2012

Testing in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, a huge group of people came to help.


Balloons Arrive August 11, 2012

all of the balloons arrived in liverpool  

Street Testing August 10, 2012

testing a few balloons on random streets in Brooklyn…   by the end, we got a pretty curious and happy crowd.

Checking Math August 8, 2012

checking our math again about some of the forces on the poles

Arturo Works Some Server Magic August 7, 2012

one of the parts of connecting lights is transforming the messages people write into color.  Arturo took some simple software we wrote that does text to speech and process the sound to come up with pulses of color, and helped create a web server that does the processing.  It’s essentially a headless openframeworks app whose job is solely to take words and turn them into color.


Organizing XBees August 6, 2012

now that 450 programmable xbees have arrived, we’ve got to label and mark all their information so we make sure they get deployed in the right locations.  Jiyhun is on a tear helping us stay organized.

Wallstown Cragg Workshop

As part of the lead up to connecting lights, workshops which focus on the themes of connection, borders, home, geography are being held in schools and civic centers along the wall.  Here’s some pictures from a recent workshop held on Wallstown cragg.

Designers’ Meetup and Assembly Day July 25, 2012

Two of Zach’s students from Parsons School showed up and helped assembled 500 thermal sheets, one of the iphone developer, Bruno,  from Project Noa also volunteered to help with the hardware assembly.  We light up 9 of the demo lights in both evenings. Designers came to our studio to present and share their work one night, and on the second night, Ryan from Pivotal lab came out  and worked on website development for allowing many users to access Connecting Light website at once.  The floor manager offered her help as a volunteer for performance  in England, which was random. Overall, We’re very excited to see our studio getting crowded everyday.


XBee Range Testing

The first version was pair with Xbee and and Arduino, the second version was straight programmable Xbees.    We  reconfigured the Xbee Pins in the software for Shift out and digital PWM pins.   Testing result, within the light of sight,  from the X4 ConnectPort to Xbee on the Hadrian’s wall was about 1/2 mile.

Rooftop Testing July 12, 2012

Marcele and Molmol set up one balloon, and it took about 9 minutes for both of them to work together.  Zach was controlling the lights via Xbee and openFrameworks app. They all ran up and down to the street to see how the light might looked from ground level. You can see some of the documentation videos of these demo testings by following openMolmol on Vimeo, or go to these links : 6/11 DEMO Video / 6/2 DEMO Video


MakerBot Arrives

Unboxing a loaner makerbot to help with the project and prototyping some of the pieces that hold the lights together.  A huge thanks for the folks at Makerbot for helping us out.

Testing the Mechanism and Wind Speed in New York

The lights look bright and the night sky in New York is just New York. We had some comical moment testing the balloon on the roof. We were using a MIDI controller to control 3 channels of the Red, Green, and Blue LEDs. The software that Zach wrote is sending color information in real-time via one Xbee coordinator and it is talking to its end device inside the weather balloon.

We are testing with 2.5 meters PVC weather balloons, with Optek high power LEDs, Xbee SB2 – programmable/ US variant, one Universal 12V 35 AH Lead Acid battery. Amelie Chucky and Bill built the base to hold the balloon with foam boards. The plate piece that connects the lights to the aluminum pole is a 3D printed piece made by The Replicator.