Beambox Interactive Playground

An interactive installation bringing the worlds of science and digital art together to celebrate light.      

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We are preparing a really fun day for our last day at the Aotea Square. Stay tuned! #BeamboxNZ

Did you know?

Microwave can penetrate clouds, smoke and light rain.

Bring the Beamboxes to Your City

Beambox can come to your event.

About the Physics

Beambox is inspired by the science of light, the characteristics of the different types of light (or electromagnetic radiation), and how contemporary society harnesses these characteristics to relay information in telecommunication technology and to realise many other applications.

Sunset gold, forest green, and sky blue – these are but a few of the magnificent colours we can see in nature, and visible light is only a sliver of the entire range of electromagnetic radiation that surrounds us! Scientists refer to the whole range of light, visible and invisible, as the “electromagnetic spectrum”.

The electromagnetic spectrum can be divided into different regions based on the way they are generated which relates to their wavelengths, frequencies and photon energies, as shown in the figure below (a more elaborate introduction can be found in “Learning Resources”). The different regions are known in everyday language as radio wave, microwave, infrared, visible, ultraviolet (UV), x-ray, and gamma rays. Each character in the Beambox installation represents a part of the electromagnetic spectrum; through play, the secrets of the electromagnetic spectrum unravel. We warmly invite you to come meet the Beamboxes and discover their talents!

 

A diagram of the electromagnetic spectrum, showing various properties across the range of frequencies and wavelengths. Source WIKIPEDIA

 

If you take the time to explore the Beamboxes, you will discover that each face of a box contains a receiver or a transmitter that uses light to carry information. Each Beambox character has a distinct sound and colour, and the light it transmits carries information about these features. The information is “encoded” on the transmitted light by modulating the amplitude (or the brightness) of an LED at the transmitter. This process is called amplitude modulation (AM), a technique commonly used in radio alongside frequency modulation (FM). The modulated signal is then detected by the receiver of another Beambox that demodulates, i.e. decodes the signal. The receiver Beambox will then respond to the signal by changing its own colour and sound. Click here to peek inside Beambox to learn how it works and how to make one at home.

 

A diagram of the amplitude modulation

 

The way the Beamboxes communicate is also how information (phone, internet etc) is transmitted and received around the world. To learn more, please check out the Learning Resources. There are seven cubes, so there are many options for interactions. Come and play with them all to learn more about the electromagnetic spectrum.

 

Artist impression

Meet the Beamboxes

Beambox installation presents seven cubes that can communicate with each other. Each box represents an individual portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Here is a quick introduction of our Beamboxes. Click on each picture to discover more about each Beambox story.

RADIOWAVE

RADIOWAVE

is the smooth sailor, considered and reliable, climbing every mountain.

MICROWAVE

MICROWAVE

is hungry to make the world a better place, one meal at a time.

INFRARED

INFRARED

is not who you want to keep your secrets.

VISIBLE LIGHT

VISIBLE LIGHT

is forever curious, forever seeking.

ULTRAVIOLET

ULTRAVIOLET

does not want to touch your germs.

X-RAY

X-RAY

is the shutterbug for science.

GAMMA RAY

GAMMA RAY

is the little bulldozer that could.

Learning Resources

Learn about “What is a ray of light made of?” on BBC.

Understand why light matters, discover light in nature, culture and life, and get hands-on ideas at 2015 International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYOL).

Try out the electromagnetic spectrum interactive by Science Learning Hub.

Learn about the history of network communication in New Zealand in this three-minute video by Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).

Colour your own Beambox buddy and discover fun facts about each Beambox by downloading the content below