Glowscenes – Engineer Develops Nature Inspired Lighting Unit

Guido Bonelli has developed a relaxation light that uses nature for inspiration.

Guido Bonelli moved into a new home and wanted to have unique home décor. He already had a habit of building interactivity into his engineering projects, and began to work on something that could be visually compelling but also more open to producing multiple units. His ideas turned to building something that incorporated acrylic and wood with a strong commitment to nature. Showing his first unit of nature-themed light décor to family and friends he realized that people found the lights and nature aspects soothing and the idea for Glowscenes, the Nature Inspired Lighting unit was born.

Glowscenes is a black walnut unit measuring 5 x 2.3 x 5.25 inches and incorporating laser cut acrylic and 72 LEDs. Three modes of operation let users choose if they want a white light, red green blue LEDs, or color changing red green blue. Two hundred fifty different brightness levels can be controlled by the user and in sunset mode six different color changing speeds can be used. The unit is powered from a 5 Volt wall unit.

Guido answered a few questions for us about the development of Glowscenes. He said that the most critical design decision was finding a way to move to volume production from his hot glue and clamp assembly setup. He found that a female hex in the middle of the unit was a great method but all of his early testers questioned the visual of screws on the face of the wood. Inspiration struck seeing a smoke alarm that had slots cut into the plastic. He realized that slotting the inside of one of the wood pieces could allow him to place an internal nut at the front of the unit and screw into it from the back.

When developing his first units he found that using RGB lights and pulse width modulation to create white light caused the lights as a group to become warm and heat up the PCB. The proximity to wood meant that any heat unnecessary heat generated would be too much heat, so Bonelli turned to RGBW lights and 20 milliAmps could be used to create white light instead of the 60 milliAmps needed from an RGB pulse width modulation setup.

Early testing also found that some people didn’t like the fast changing colors between blue red and green for the relaxation light. Because an Arduino board is controlling the system Bonelli was able to add six levels of color changing speed to the system. Glowscenes is a great project that sits as an elegant piece of art and craftsmanship without the user needing to think about the hundreds of hours of work that went into its design, programming and development. Guido has sent a test unit to my house and the entire family likes to look at the different colors and lights – my wife has even wondered if her students on the autism spectrum might be able to use the lights as a soothing tool. The campaign ends on July 11 and if successful first units will ship in December, 2017.