Introduction: Baksa - Interactive Art Installation

About: I'm Utkarsh Kumar Gupta, an engineer, artist, inventor, focused on sustainability issues. My true passion is creating functional products integrated with technology. I'm interested in new technologies and the …

'Baksa' is a Hindi word for Box.
Its an Interactive Art Installation which we made for 'The Lost Party', a music & arts festival in India.
The idea behind the installation was to make it as aesthetically pleasing as possible, while ensuring major impact when seen for the first time. In order to make this happen, we decided to make a massive cube shaped structure that pulsates with light and vivid colours. Being a cubic structure, there were six faces that needed to be represented. Given the theme of the festival was ‘being lost’, it was decided the theme should be extended across to the installation

It was apparent that using a ‘maze’ as a symbol for ‘being lost’ might be a good idea. For greater visual impact, a ‘whirlpool’ like motif was introduced It was critical to embody the spirit of a party. After further brainstorming, it became clear that best direction forward would be to incorporate bright lights in multiple colours as an idle state for the installation. When triggered, it needed to suggest vitality and energy, thus it was decided the triggered state would involve rapidly fluctuating lights, much like a strobe.

This installation took 12 days and around 340$ from start to finish.

Step 1: Material & Tools Used


  • Drill Machine
  • Jigsaw
  • Circular Saw
  • Dremel with Sanding Bits
  • Angle Grinder
  • HVLP Spray Paint System
  • Laser Cutter
  • Soldering Iron


  • 3 x 8'x4' 2mm White Acrylic Sheets
  • 2'x1' Clear Acrylic Sheet
  • 3 x Plywood 2mm
  • 1 x Plywood 4.5mm
  • 3 x Plywood 6mm
  • 10 x 2"x2"x10' Timber
  • Brown Enamel Paint.
  • Paint Brushes
  • Paint Thinner.
  • Hot Glue Sticks
  • Wood Glue
  • 3" Self Tapping Screws
  • 16' Edge Framing Wood
  • Zip Ties


  • Arduino MEGA
  • IR Sensor
  • Connecting Wires
  • 1.5mm Red, Green, Blue Copper Wires
  • 4 x 50 Watt High Power RGB LEDs
  • 9 x IRF Z44 MOSFETs
  • Screw Terminal
  • Aluminium Heat Sink
  • Heat Shrink Tube
  • 12mm BLDC Fan
  • 10 meter WS2811B LED strip
  • 2 meter warm white LEDstrip
  • 3 x 25V 5A DC Power Supply
  • 12V Power Supply
  • 2 x LM7805 Voltage Regulator

Step 2: Circuit

Circuit for this project is not so difficult. Its similar to the Arduino blink circuit that everybody does when they start working with Arduino.
Here in this project, high power LEDs are used to which current and voltage cannot be supplied from Arduino so external power supplies are used instead of directly hooking up the LEDs to the arduino, they are wired with IRF Z44 MOSFETs and MOSFETs are controlled using the arduino. Wiring diagram for MOSFETs for 1 LED is shown above. This is repeated four times for all four LEDs. so in total 12 MOSFETs are used.
Arduino Pin is also connected to ground through a resistor which acts as a Pull Down Resistor for LED

Also all used Arduino Pins are PWM Pins since we need fading and mixing of colors ·
For triggering the strobe effect we used an IR sensor which is fixed in the Podium (read on to know).

Once this part is done it all depends on your imagination and code how you want the LED Magic to happen.

Step 3: LED Console

LED console is designed in a way so that it can house arduino, MOSFETs and LEDs in it.
Its a simple stand-alone box structure containing all the components.
Its made using laser cutter out of 4.5mm plywood.

  • Arduino and PCB containing MOSFETs is fixed inside the box
  • On four faces of the box are fixed four heat-sinks containing 50 watt RGB LEDs and 4 DC power supplies.
  • Three separate power supplies were used due to the reason that optimum voltage for Red, Green & Blue is 22, 24.3 and 26.4 volts respectively as per manufacturers specifications below which they were getting dim and above which they were getting too hot.
  • Fourth power supply is a 12v, 10a supply that is powering cooling FAN, LED Strip used in podium and magic LED strip in the main box.
  • 12v BLDC fan is fixed on the top to remove heat from Arduino, MOSFETs and LED Heat sinks.
  • LED Console is placed exactly in the centre of the cube such that all four LEDs are facing four faces of the box.
  • From the LED Console two wire sets are coming out, one is for main supply input of 220V AC and another is a set of three wires going to podium for powering LED Strip and IR Sensor in the podium and also the line for triggering the strobe effect.
  • On the remaining fifth and sixth face we used Magic LED Strips .i.e. LED strips with built in processor to give automatic effects.

Step 4: Construction​

The whole installation consists of three parts-
Cube - The main part of the installation which is 4'x4'x4' feet in dimension.
Platform - The cube was made to stand on a structurally firm platform, held on diagonally on one corner through the triangular inset. This was made using plywood and 2x2s.

Podium - To add interaction, a podium like console was constructed using plywood inside which is fixed an infrared sensor behind the blue acrylic panel. Placing ones hand on the silhouette would activate an exhilarating strobe.

Step 5: Cube

The most lengthy construction of this project is the cube. Its 4'x4'x4' huge cube on faces of which the light from the LEDs is getting diffused. Its made in a way such that there is no obstruction in the path of LED lights and the faces.
And when light coming from the LEDs is projected on the arcylic sheet, It diffuses on its surface and give uniform color on the outer side of the sheet.

  • The cube frame is made up of 2x2s which we cut using circular saw to the length of 4' and then 45' Angled cuts are made to join them with each other. Wood Glue along with self tapping screws are used to join the corners.
  • After the structure, the faces of the cube were made containing the maze. Maze is laser cut out of 3 mm plyboard. The platform size of the laser cutter that we used is 36"x24" and size of maze is equal tot he size of the face of the cube i.e. 48" x 48" so it was cut in four parts of 24"x 24" and and the joined together. This was done for all faces.
  • Maze was then spray painted and then glued of white acrylic sheet. Standard size of Acrylic sheet is 8'x4' so it was cut in half to get two pieces of 4'x4'.
  • To fix LED Console inside the cube a base was made with a height of 12" above the bottom face of the cube. Led console is mounted on it. combining the height of the LED Console and the base the height at which LEDs are fixed is 24" keeping the LEDs exactly in center of the Cube.
  • One face of the cube is lit up using WS2811B 12V 3Chip configuration 5050 LED Strip with a built in processor. These are fixed on a plywood sheet above which we pasted a white sheet of paper to spread the color. This strip is fixed in shape of a whirlpool using hot glue and is giving very nice effects on one side of the cube.
  • On one side, the logo and name of the event is laser cut painted and pasted.
  • The acrylic sheets are fixed by self tapping screws on the structure. For drilling screws through acrylic sheet the holes were pre-drilled in it. Window beading is also used on the edges to secure the acrylic sheet and it is also giving it a nicer look.

Step 6: Platform

The cube was made to stand on a structurally firm platform, held on diagonally on one corner through the triangular inset. This was made using plywood and 1"x2"s. The size of the platform is 40"x40"x8".
Platform is made in a way so that it can handle the weight of the cube .i.e. is about 46 Kg. Also enough support has been provided to prevent it from toggling. In total 11 supports are made to distribute the weight uniformly. The inset triangle supports are fixed using L-Clamps and screws.

Step 7: Podium

To add interaction, a podium was constructed with a Infrared sensor attached behind the blue acrylic panel. Placing ones hand on the silhouette would activate an exhilarating strobe.
The podium is made with plywood and the surface for touch is made out of clear acrylic.
Also a plywood frame has also been Cut and engraved using laser cutter which is further beautifying the surface of the podium.
Using laser machine the text and an outline of a hand is engraved. On the edges of the acrylic sheet the 5050 Warm white LED strip is fixed. Its getting power through the 12V DC Supply fixed in the cube.

Exactly below the 'engraved hand' is fixed an IR Sensor tuned in a way such that whenever someone puts his/her hand on the surface of the 'engraved hand' the IR sensors triggers the arduino to activate the strobe effect which stays active for 10 seconds and after that come back to normal fading effect of the LEDs.
The IR Sensor is a 5V device so a voltage regulator LM7805 is used to give a 5V out from 12v supply.

All the electronic components combined with cube, platform and podium together is making Baksa
I hope you guys like it :)

Microcontroller Contest 2017

Participated in the
Microcontroller Contest 2017