Light Puzzle Cube – Final Documentation

by Duong Nguyen


My final project for Light Art is the Light Puzzle Cube, where I took advantage of the infinity mirror effect to make Art while the viewer can play around with it to discover different things the cube can do.

I took in the concept of infinity mirror but instead of using them for just one dimension I used them for a cube where if you look anywhere in the cube you will find infinite space inside it. Not only that I want to make something interactive and viewer can have fun and play around with the art piece. Therefore I have a seperate cube that I called the “Key” cube with has an IMU help viewer to perform certain action that can let you get through the puzzle.

Not only fun and interactive, because for each mirror I also decorate it with LED with different diffuse material patterns, therefore if the puzzle is too difficult the viewer can just left the “key” cube and enjoy the light show.

Iteration and development of cube structure

My original idea was just to make an infinite mirror light cube that has all 6 sided infinite mirror. Each mirror contain two one-way mirror made by acrylic sheet and one way window mirror film, which is cheaper than buying one-way glass mirror. The important concept of the original idea was that no matter which side of the cube the viewer saw, it is always will have infinite space in it to create optical illusion.

However, there were a few interesting challenge while I tested with the infinite mirror that I made. To make the effect clearly as possible, light need to only be exist in between the two mirror, therefore to make all 6 sided infinite mirror, all 6 sided need to be self-contained, and no light should be present in both direction, inward and outward, only in the middle. One more thing I realize that it could become a problem is that the effect of infinite also greatly depended on the size of the mirror. The larger the mirror the deeper and less light-polluted the infinity effect occur. Therefore, when I made the original mirror cube I realize that the infinite effect might not be as great as I imagine. The image of LED only occur 4 to 5 times in the infinite mirror, and you have to look directly into the middle of the mirror to see the effect. Also outside environment need to be totally dark for the effect.

Therefore with those challenges, I decide to take the idea in a different approach, where instead of each sided is self-contained, I want to take advantages of the acrylic material and make the all of sided have some kind of effect on each other while still maintain some form of infinite illusion effect. This make me change the original design of the inner mirror, shown in figure below. So that each side can be self reflect however also affected from other side.

Electrical Component

For the light, I used simply 3 wire LEDs, which I has to just solder them together and the package I used for controlling them is FastLED Arduino and their example code. While testing with the LED, I realize that LED only is pretty simple when look at, so I start trying different diffuse material such as normal plastic bag to bubble paper, … and I want each side to have a different flavor so each side I tried different method.

I also at the beginning have an idea that cube color depended on its orientation, therefore I bought an IMU and started testing with it. The library I used is MPU6050_6Axis_MotionApps20 , the library works well. But I realize that the signal seemed to be very noisy and difficult to get correct number every time. However I took advantage of that because there is no need for absolute correct, random effect will create unexpected color of the cube.

I also need to take care of the LED and light structure that I want in each cube. I want each side to be similar, however because of the diffuse material it would create a different feeling. Also because I need to solder each LED myself, I can change to shape and size of the LED strip to fit the inner acrylic structure that I had. The final structure is shown in the figure below.

Interactive Puzzle Component

After finalize the structure of the cube, I realized that there were too much wires and connection I need to have from the IMU and LED strip from the cube to the Arduino outside. Therefore, I decided to make only 5 sided cube the bottom is for wires, however, this also means the cube cannot be pick-up and we only able to rotate it. Therefore, I decided to focus on the interactive that I can do with the IMU, instead of moving the whole cube, I made a smaller cube like a controller for changing color for the bigger cube.

Also while playing with the IMU, I thought I would be very fun and interactive if the viewer has to perform some “Quests” while moving the key cube. So I spend the last week for playing with all the fun interaction or puzzle that we can possible make with the small cube, and how we can make the puzzle look pretty with the big cube. And at the end I have 8 different stage (or puzzle) for the viewer to go through. I personally made all the control loop and display logic of LED strips and information of IMU into the puzzle in Arduino. I also made a Hint sheet for the viewer shown below. The cube has total of 4 sides which for solving the puzzle and the top mirror was used for like an map so that viewers know where they were and how many puzzle left.


I have a short demonstration for the final project shown below. The video also has narrative for how to solve each puzzle and at the end I made a few color animation for displaying the light puzzle cube. Enjoy !

I have a lot of fun making and playing with the project. This puzzle will definitely be in in my living room as a colorful and playful lamb. I am actually surprised by how well and fun the project turns out, at first I just want to create a static light cube and then I made an interactive and exciting light puzzle cube. Maybe a few improvement will be the wire issue and improvement of the key cube, adding Bluetooth or have a wireless system or play with the cube with your phone.

Final Project – Duong Nguyen

My final project for Light Art is called Light Puzzle Cube, where I took advantage of the infinity mirror effect to make Art while the viewer can play around with it to discover different things the cube can do. I have a short demonstration for the final project shown below.

I took in the concept of infinity mirror but instead of using them for just one dimension I used them for a cube where if you look anywhere in the cube you will find infinite space inside it. Not only that I want to make something interactive and viewer can have fun and play around with the art piece. Therefore I have a seperate cube that I called the “Key” cube with has an IMU help viewer to perform certain action that can let you get through the puzzle.


Not only fun and interactive, because for each mirror I also decorate it with LED with different diffuse material patterns, therefore if the puzzle is too difficult the viewer can just left the “key” cube and enjoy the light show.

More details documentation will be added later in the final documentation.

Polish & Present – Duong Nguyen

In the final week, at first, I focus on finishing the physical structure of the cube such as putting all the one-way mirror film on both inner and outer mirror, then I need to put the LED structure into the cube and make sure they do not interfere with each other. I need to resolder and debug multiple times where 2 LEDs just accidentally touch each other and make the light not responding. Then I added the bottom layer to make sure the cube can stand straight and the inner mirror is parallel with the outer one. The picture below shows the bottom structure.

I also make the Top structure to attach to the cube and I also added LED there. One thing I notice when I turn on the LED is that the effect of infinite, only slightly exist because the inner mirror is very small, therefore we need to view cube very close and the environment need to be very dark to see the effect. Therefore, I changed my plan to focus on the puzzle side of the cube rather than the infinite mirror effect itself. I also decorate each side of the cube with different LED diffuse material to see how much it works with the infinite mirror effect.

I also face a problem with the wire issue because there were too many wires in the system which affect the IMU when the viewer rotate them for a long time. Therefore I resolder a different type of wire so that the IMU can move around and rotate easier.

I also focus on making the cube has many different puzzle (total of 8). And the top LED will show the progress of your current puzzles, how many puzzle left until you defeat it. I spend lots of time playing around with codes and ways you can map 3 variables of yaw pitch and roll of an IMU into different puzzle and way to display the LEDs inside the cube. I also make a hint for all the puzzle during the final presentation so viewer can try to guess and solve the puzzle.

Everything Working – Duong Nguyen

This week, I finished up most of the part of the projects. First thing I did was soldering the LED and making them into the shape that I want them to be. Because I bought LED separately without any prebuilt wires, therefore I can make wire them to shape that I like depend on how much space I have for the inner and outer glass layer. Below are pictures I took after I finish soldering like 40 LED. It took a while at the beginning, like 2 hours for the first 8 LED but then I think I become professional at soldering these types of solder so the rest of LEDs did not take too much time.

At first I decided to solder 8 LED at a time to form a square side, however, when I put them into the cube, the more wire it has the less space I have, therefore I decided to solder them together to make a bigger string of LED.

Next Step is I cut the one-way mirror film and add them to the acrylic structure I made in previous week, instead of just use tape, I learn that adding soap into both surface help glue them together.

Then I decided to play around with the color display, I add a few light sequence to display the LED and put them into the cube.

A few cool thing that I realize with the infinite mirror is that if I have 2 LED, and instead of making the inner mirror parallel with the outer one, if I put it in an angle, then it would produce some unexpected curve performed by the 2 LEDs instead of just straight lines.

Last week I also testing ways to draw or sculpt the acrylic to see if it has any cool effect. Next week, I would add more artistic detail into the cube, and hopefully will make the cube more interesting.

Failure, Recalibration & Iteration – Duong Nguyen

This week, I tried to tackle the most difficult challenge of the project which is to actually build the structure of the infinity code. At the beginning, I was thinking of simply just building each infinite mirror (side of the cube), then at the end just simply add each side together to form a cube.

Re-calibration #1: However, in that design, for each mirror we need two acrylic sheet, if the two sheets are equal size, then the side and corner of the cube when put everything together will be empty. So I changed my design so that the inner sheet is slightly smaller than the outer sheet, therefore we can just glue all the outer sheet together to make the cube.

Re-calibration #2: I have two structure for the inner sheet, where the first iteration is the inner sheet will just be in the center of the cube. But then I need to make the structure for the diagonal linkage to hold the inner cube. Second iteration is that inner sheet is not center at the middle but to near the corner which do not require any other structure and fit nicely inside the cube.

Failure #1: So I decided to use the second design of the inner cube. However I made a mistake in my calculation to not add the thickness of each acrylic sheet because when I glue them together it is very tight and I cannot put the LED structure inside so I tried to make a cube out of the incorrect size sheet.

So I have to re-cut the inner sheet, however, it turns out to be smaller than what I thought it would be, So I do not know if the infinity effect would be if the mirror is a little bit too small.

Maquette – Duong Nguyen

For last week:

  • I have created a cardboard version of my design for the cube.
  • I have cut acrylic sheet into part so I can test the one way mirror window film to make the infinity mirror illusion.

  • Tested with the gyrometer

Last week I already started to order parts I need for the project, this is what I have bought so far:

  • Acrylic Sheet
  • Plastic Acrylic scorer (because I don’t want to use laser cutter because it might burn the acrylic sheet and I don’t have a specific dimension for my design yet)
  • One way mirror window film
  • Gyrometer
  • 100 LED RGB strip

What I might need for next week:


Week of 4/8/2018:

  • Finalize design of structure, at least have them fixed so next week I can start to attach the mirror to the holding structure.
  • Start to make the mirror (at least 3)
  • Figure out a way to insert light strip easily
  • Experiment with other way of displaying light, not LED alone but LED with others material

Week of 4/15/2018:

  • Finish making the mirror
  • Fixed and solve any issue for last week.
  • Adding light to the mirror and implement lighting control based on gyrometer

Week of 4/22/2018:

  • Finalize the projects.
  • Implemented any other light function like react to music, if have time.

Concept Proposal – Duong Nguyen

Hi everyone, I have two different idea for my final project: Infinity Tesseract (Cube) and Light Puzzle

The infinity Tesseract idea i get from many artist that did infinite light artist such as Chul Hyun Ahn, however with a slight modification where i will not focus on the light art inside the glasses but about the whole structure of the art, instead of having one side i will make 6 sides of a cube, so each side of the cube will look like having infinite space which make the idea of space go further where inside the cube which is 3D have another dimension the fourth one like the Tesseract in marvel universe.

The art piece will be small not as big as in the picture but basically it will have 6 side. If possible i also want to make the LED inside the glass different on each side. The light inside the infinite mirror could react to music input or have different light properties to make different art or display a hologram.

Light puzzle idea is taken from the idea of wooden puzzle or a rubik cube, but instead of a solid color, i want to use LED put into acrylic or other cool material so that each piece of the puzzle combination will make a different color so the viewers will also be the performers of this art piece where they have to figure out how to solve the art piece to make a cool art at the end.

Link of Picture used:

Link for Presentation:

Peter Erskine

Hi everyone, I am Duong. And today I will give an overview about Peter Erskine and his Light Artwork. At first when hearing about Light Art, I only think about using artificial material such as LED laser and other material to make Art, so when I came across Peter Erskine Artwork, I felt not only amaze but also admiral by his work. He does not use LED or any human made light source but he used the basics and we most familiar with: the sunlight to make art.

His idea is very simple, using light to make art, not only that his art also has deep meaning into them.His art is also about light and shadow, nature and human, life and death.  Based on three big idea: Sunlight is energy, all life is solar powered and everything is connected to everything else.

SOS made during the 1990, so 20 30 years ago, however it is still very relevant till now. His project is about global warming, warning human about it by showing the beauty of sunlight and nature but also raised a question: Can our children played in the sunlight. With all global warming and ozone depletion, it is a question that humanity have to face right now and in the future. S.O.S. addresses the beauty and dangers of Sunlight: the beauty of the rainbow and photosynthesis, and the dangers of global warming and mass species extinction.

For this SOS, Peter Erskine stated himself that people love his pieces because of its natures that they love about it, it is inside human ourselves, not because his art has incredible technique. He feels like I just present nature to people in a different way and because of human nature, they just love it. One way to describe this artwork is like what walking in the rainbow.  

As I mentioned before, his artwork is from 20 30 years ago, but glass and lighting technique that he used has been developed for hundreds of years.

His technique is simple but what he really wants is to make the used out of existing structure for example in ancient Rome to produce more beautiful and different way to looking at this architecture.

He also has many other project such as project made in library or the Rainbow Sundial Calendar where instead of using the old, ancient way of making a sun clock using shadow, instead using sunlight pass through prism to determine time of the day.

Presentation Link: 

Introduction and Art Portfolio – Duong Nguyen

Hi everyone, my name is Duong Nguyen and I am from Vietnam. I am a senior major in RBE and ECE. I started doing art when I was in high school, where I discover that I actually like making art. I started with metalworking and woodworking. Pictures below are a few of my work.

First picture is made from all metal from lotus flower to the dragonfly. I am sad because I did not have a video of it, because it supposed to be a water sculptures as the water was pumped at middle of the lotus flower and flow down to the bucket. It is very relaxing.

Second picture is a woden cryptic I made based on the idea of a metal cryptic from Da Vinci. I think I am the only who can solve it, not because of the password (because even knowing the password we cannot actually open it), but because I used sounds that I heard from turning the ring so I know it is in the correct spot or not. Pretty cool !

Then I went to WPI, I took Animation, 3D modeling and Interactive Art. You can take a look at a few of my project on my website:

I am RBE and ECE major so I have experience with programming and electronics, using camera and variety of sensors, you can see some of my projects on my website link above.

I also love anime and manga so in my free time I also draw some stuff. Below is my most recent drawing, I first drew everything with shading and stuff but then for coloring I just used an AI to paint my drawing (so I actually did not color my drawing at all). The AI is pretty cool you should try it too, just for fun 🙂

I have some experience on making movie, I have taken some kung fu class, which I think it is very similar to dancing. I also play ukulele, but I am just beginner though.

My creative inspirations come from anywhere. Anything that I found amazing and awesome, I want to make art of it so that other people can see and feel how I feel too, happy and being amazed. This is also related to my goal when making art is making people feel happy, being amazed about the beautiful world around us, not only about nature but also virtual like movies and games.