Blinkenlights

Blinkenlights (2001), Haus des Lehrers, Berlin, Germany

Blinkenlights (2001):  Foto: Dorit Günter, Nadja HannaskeBlinkenlights (2001):
Foto: Dorit Günter, Nadja Hannaske
On September 11th, 2001 the famous "Haus des Lehrers" (house of the teacher) building at Berlin Alexanderplatz has been enhanced to become world's biggest interactive computer display: Blinkenlights.

The upper eight floors of the building were transformed in to a huge display by arranging 144 lamps behind the building's front windows. A computer controlled each of the lamps independently to produce a monochrome matrix of 18 times 8 pixels.

During the night, a constantly growing number of animations could be seen. But there was an interactive component as well: you were able to play the old arcade classic Pong on the building using your mobile phone and you could place your own love letters on the screen as well.

Blinkenlights was up and running at until February 23rd, 2002, running 23 weeks and 5 days in total. During that period, its feature set was constantly improved. The program Blinkenpaint enabled everybody to create animations and to take part in our animation contest.

The software has been released as Free Software. There is a description of the Blinkenlights Movie format and a couple of nice tools to display and convert your animations. A look behind the scenes reveals some technical details of our system.

A list of press reports about Blinkenlights und a couple of interesting links to other projects complete the overview. Get a regular update on what is going on with the project on our Blog.

Documentation Video

We have created a extensive documentation video for the project. You can view it right here or download a high-resolution copy from our video page.