555 Ohm Book

light sculpture

Periodically I have worked with the Northern Illinois University STEM Outreach program to teach young people about art and technology. In 2012 the DeKalb Public Library received a grant to run a class that would result in a permanent electronic sculpture to be housed at the library. After a basic introduction to electronics, the class (3rd-6th grades) were taught how to build a circuit using the 555 timer. With the 555 we made a solar-powered sound synthesizer and several types of LED lights.

The sculpture is made from clear acrylic plexiglass that has been formed into the shape of a book. Along the spine of the book are several LED lights that use the circuit that the students learned in class. The LEDs illuminate images etched onto the pages of the book. On the left page is a schematic of the circuit used to operate the LEDs. The name of the inventor of each component (resistor, capacitor, LED, integrated circuit, etc.) used in the circuit is also etched into the image. On the right page is a formula wheel for calculating Ohm’s law.

Community invited to ‘electrify minds’ June 6