Arduino makers project - Eclipse


Eclipse is a project which has an unusual and different approach towards the conventional light design. The aim of the project is to create a lamp combining the power of the light with the complexity of Mechatronics.
After researching the existing lighting solutions, the designers’ team focussed on the idea of manipulating shadows and forms. Eclipse is not only a source of light, but also a lamp that can shape the environment around you and stimulate your senses by changing the ambiance surrounding you.

In order to achieve this effect, the designers chose a long hollow tubular shaped piece of iron in which they placed a neon light. As the user lights the lamp on, the neon light remains switched on, while the cuts in the lamp, shaped like droplets, open and close in sequence around the surface and through that movement they create a dynamic lighting experience.


What have you made?

Eclipse is a lamp which aims to bring a different approach towards our well-known experience with the conventional light design. My colleagues and I (Giulia, Matteo, Stefano and Manfredi), dedicated ourselves to designing and building an innovative lamp that can change the atmosphere of its surrounding environment.
We were targeting a sector, that of lighting, which already had a lot of existing solutions, therefore we tried and directed our project towards a more unconventional design.

At the end of our research, we chose the concept of dynamic light, with the idea to change the common rules of the mass production lamps: now our low consumption lamp remain switched on at all times, and its intensity varies thanks to the 105 moving droplet shaped elements. All of these 105 parts are connected by linear sticks, not only do they promote the idea of modularity, but they also give an interesting wave effect during the sequential opening and closing of the droplets.

What gave you the initial inspiration?

Eclipse is an explicit provocation towards the emblematic lamp “Eclisse”, designed by the Italian master Vico Magistretti. We wanted to transform his idea of converting light in a present-day product, by using modern technology and a new expressive language. In this way we understood how important it is to study our past, in order to create new future perspectives.

What is the original idea behind this project?

Well, the first idea was to create a high-level lamp with an affordable technology like Arduino, so we spent about 15 days for the analysis and research stage, in order to find a more precise area that we could choose to work in. Then we calculated the time we needed to accomplish the task and create the prototype. After that we started, hoping for the best.

How does it work?

When Eclipse is switched off, it simply looks like a black polished cylinder. After switching the lamp on, with a slight push of a button (or with a IR-Remote) you can see the neon light from the center of the cylinder becoming brighter. The rays of light come out of the many droplets that start to open sequentially, like a wave. At that point you can choose how much light you want to filter, through an adjustment of a button placed next to the Arduino. This will let all the droplets move to an angle that can go from 0° to 45°. If you want to create a more impressive environment in your house, you can simply do that by pressing the correct button to loop the wave effect in order to see the hundreds of playful shadows, shaped by the forms of the objects. When you want to switch off Eclipse, you can simply press the power button to see the last elegant closing wave, before the light goes completely off.

How long did it take to make it real?

It took us about one month for the development of our concept by strictly following the points of analysis and research. These steps helped us to come up with an interesting and concrete idea for our project. After that stage we needed two months of five days per week (also some nights) work in order to finish the closing design, and to make the final product become realit

How did you build it?

Eclipse is made from one iron tube, 1 meter high. The cylindrical structure of the lamp was cut by using a 3D laser machine. After that we used 12 servos and, of course, an Arduino Due board. Some of the parts within the lamp were 3D printed, we had to make molds that we used to make models in resin and using silicon stamps. We also needed some wire, some electric components and then…it was done!