MIT student builds real-time MBTA map into wall using LED lights

Mit student builds real-time mbta map into wall using led lights

The makeshift display secured into the wall glows and pulsates, creating a hypnotic aura like a lava lamp for the modern-day engineering student.

But more than that, it pinpoints the whereabouts of the MBTA’s many trolleys and trains.

Inspired by his love of public transit, Massachusetts Institute of Technology junior Ian Reynolds has built onto his fraternity room wall a map of the T that shows real-time locations of the vehicles using vibrant LED lights.

“I do find myself staring at it sometimes,” said Reynolds. “I’ll just turn it on and then zone out.”

For three weeks, Reynolds tinkered with electronics, fiddled with power tools, and manipulated strips of bright bulbs to create the map that stretches across his bedroom wall like a spidered windshield.

The most difficult part of the project, he said, was shaping and soldering the 29½ feet of Adafruit NeoPixel light strips.

“The strips don’t bend laterally, so where there is a curve in the map, I would have to break the strips” and reshape them, Reynolds said.

The strips are driven by an Arduino Uno, a circuit board used for programming that reads information from a Python script. The script runs on a tiny computer called a Raspberry Pi that rests on his floor. The Raspberry Pi is commonly used for such do-it-yourself electronic projects, he said. []

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
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About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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