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Inverter-driven laser beams create patterns in the London sky

29 February, 2012

Motion technology has been harnessed to create a kinetic sculpture that was inaugurated recently by the mayor of London, Boris Johnson. The sculpture, called Geometry, will create dramatic light displays in the skies over West London until September.

The installation, created by the French artist Félicie d`Estienne d`Orves, uses wind turbine technology to drive two masts – one vertical, the other horizontal – to which mirrors are attached. The mirrored blades reflect the sky and create kinetic effects that depend to the time of the day and season.

At night, laser light is projected from the horizontal mast and reflected from the horizontal mast. The movement of the sculpture is programmed to create geometrical shapes that reach more than 20m into the air.

Technological support for the installation was provided by Bonfiglioli, which worked with the artist and David Simpson of Show Laser Systems.

The various mirror positions specified by the artist are achieved using a motorised positioning system, controlled by an inverter. The masts are driven by two shaft-mounted helical gearboxes coupled directly to brushless servomotors fitted with failsafe brakes. The drives, which are open to the elements, are protected to IP65.

Bonfiglioli Active Cube inverters control the motors and handle the complex programming needed to produce numerous changes of direction. The drives help to achieve 24 precise position co-ordinates, as well as controlling eight de-synchronisation points for the two reflector blades.

The Geometry display was inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It marks the start of an International Festival of Digital Art at Watermans Gallery in Brentford.

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