Blue Flower – 2006

Blue Flower is an electronic sculpture inspired by principles of energy flow and ecosystem in biology. The shape of the flower is dictated by the simultaneous needs of physical structure and electronic circuit design. Each part of the flower is simultaneously part of the electrical circuit and structural.

The flower requires electrical energy to function. Without it the light dims and it is lifeless. There is no power supply inside the flower itself. Power is transmitted from circuitry inside the vase to the flower. The bulb at the base of the flower is composed of many loops of wire surrounding a ferromagnetic core. The bulb has the potential to convert the energy of a moving magnetic field into electrical energy. The vase provides this energy in the form of a pulsating magnetic field. When the two are together, power is transferred and the relationship between the flower and vase is fulfilled. As the flower is removed from the vase and separated from the pulsating magnetic field the light fades away.

Blue Flower is the first of a series of “electronic organisms” in an interdependent electronic ecosystem. A biological flower in nature serves a reproductive purpose for the plant and forms a relationship with pollinating insects and animals. The lights on the petal of the flower form a distinct visual signature which could form a beacon for electronic insects. The protruding “stamen” of the flower are designed as a feeding point where these insects could draw power.

Technical

The petals of the flower were created through a process adapted from techniques for making Printed Circuit Boards. The petal design was laser printed and transferred to flexible copper sheet. The copper sheet was etched with ferric chloride to remove the non-petal portions of the metal. The LEDs were then soldered to the pieces of the petal to hold them together.

The bulb of the flower is composed of loops of magnet wire and a ferromagnetic core. Inside the vase is a coil of magnet wire which is connected to an external control box containing a transistor and open source Arduino microcontroller running custom embedded software. The circuit schematic was designed in Eagle PCB.

Exhibition / Press History