GwaGwa brightens the Yokohama waterfront with wind-powered lights

GwaGwa — a creative duo comprised of Makers Masamichi and Kozue Shimada — is known for a number of their innovative installation, hand drawing and stop motion animations. Most recently, the team was commissioned by Smart Illumination Yokohama 2014 to design “Colors of the Wind Way” along the Japanese city’s waterfront.


As its creators note, “The concept for the installed artwork was to find wind way. The wind power generator and win sensor are utilized to visualize the wind path by dynamic lighting and colors.”

To bring this vibrant idea to life, GwaGwa apportioned 50 wind-powered lighting devices in a grid across the breakwater, which runs approximately 100m (328 ft) in Yokohama Bay. Each device was embedded with a sensor, a wind power generator, a full-color LED and an ATmega328P MCU, each of which were controlled by an Arduino-based program to visualize the paths. Meanwhile, a stepper motor was installed for the generator unit.


The electric power was generated by the mortar connected to a gyromill-type windmill and charged in the internal NIMH battery throughout the day. Come dusk, the wind sensor inside the windmill would detect the wind and subsequently trigger the lights using the power charged in the battery, flashing into five colors depending on the wind level.


“The art piece is designed to be self-sustained power-wise. In a distant view the entire installations are adorned with colorful flashing lights where the light flashes fast with strong wind and fades in/out with subtle wind. The light goes down when there is no wind. Consequently, these variations of aligned lights visualize the paths of wind,” GwaGwa writes.

Interested in learning more about the creative group’s ATmega328 powered, wind-responsive color lights? Head over to their official project page here.

4 thoughts on “GwaGwa brightens the Yokohama waterfront with wind-powered lights

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