Christie Leece
Kate Tibbetts
Robbie Tilton

The Altar

The Altar is a musical sacred object that responds to visitor offerings of light.

Introduction to Physical Computing

Music is a very powerful medium that many people use as a spiritual beacon that helps to guide, motivate, relax, and feel something greater than oneself. For such a powerful form of media we often see very bland modes to control it (mp3 players, home stereo systems, etc.), but why not give this medium the altar it deserves? In collaboration, Robbie Tilton, Christie Leece, Katie Tibbetts created a physical computing piece called The Altar. The Altar uses candle light to play and adjust an audio composition that is meant to embrace the power of music. The piece was made with 17 photo cells, 1 Arduino Mega, and a whole lot of love. The tops of each tier is laser cut (totaling 6 hours to engrave the entire piece). As we continue to improve the piece, we hope to place this in a public space (such as a church), to allow more guests outside the NYU ITP community to enjoy it.

Anyone old enough to light a candle.

User Scenario
An ideal placement of the object is in a darkened room, relatively isolated from other interactive projects on a table or on a pleasing rug on the floor. The sound emitted from the altar should be consuming and surround the individual lighting the candles.

The piece consists of three tiers of tea light candles. The photocells are read in Processing by a computer hidden from sight and the music is a layered composition of musical harmonies and First Corinthians read in Greek.