Capturing the idea of motion in a desktop art piece


lumen provides a way for capturing the idea of motion in a desktop art piece. Featuring wooden construction, the project fools the eyes by quickly illuminating parts of complex motion to give the illusion of slow motion.

Using Arduino 101 and RaspberryPi, lumen connects to your Spotify account to react to music playing through your speakers. When music isn't playing, it remains as a decorative piece, displaying the intricacies of motion within.


Videos are just rapidly changing images. Each frame is shown for a split second, and this gives us the perception of continuous motion capture.

This same effect can be reproduced in a slightly different way. By placing a strobe light above a moving subject, the quick flashes of light effectively produce stationary frames of the motion, much like video.

This project takes this a step further: by using a strobing light, and a vibrating object, the relative frequencies can be precisely tuned to make an object appear to be moving in slow motion.


  • Arduino 101
  • Raspberry Pi
  • White LED Light Strip
  • Fast action linear actuator
  • 2x MOSFET transistors
  • Wires, resistors, status LEDs, etc.
  • Python
  • Spotify API
  • Wooden box with lower compartment for electronics
  • Semi-tinted plexiglass
  • Feather or flower

The Arduino 101 board controls the light and linear actuator, the RaspberryPi provides access to the Spotify API via a network connection.

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