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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Lightbulb – Jeff Lieberman

  • On March 2, 2006

Here's a great piece I saw a while ago and meant to post. Jeff Lieberman has explores two phenomena, the stabilization of unstable systems using feedback, and wireless power transmission. Feedback systems often levitate objects, stabilize inverted pendulums, and the like. Wireless power transmission has been around since Tesla's invention a century ago, although it is still not widely utilized. Jeff wanted to explore these effects together.

See How it Works

Lightbulb uses a special bulb, inside which magnets and circuitry are hidden. Using a magnetic hall effect sensor, an electromagnet, and a [modified] PD feedback system, it floats a lightbulb stably in the air, while power is transmitted wirelessly from the base of the sculpture into the bulb. LEDs in the bulb rectify this AC power and convert it to light. The power transfer functions very similarly to how radio station tuning works and requires a well tuned matched pair of resonant windings, but allows power transmission over through the air.

via Gravestmor


  1. Ralph

    I saw a TV show called Time Warp which had super fast photography. If you are the right Jeff Lieberman I had two suggestions for future shows.
    1. is it possible to use your ultra high speed photography to tell when a person is lying? I believe there is research to scan eyes during interrogations but are there other clues to betray a liar?
    2. can you photograph baseballs in motion to show the distorted path from the pitcher to the mound. I often hear baseball commentators talk about sliders and what not but I am clueless as to the actual path of the ball.
    Your feedback would be appreciated. PS What channel broadcasts your show?

  2. Hi Ralph-
    Yes it’s me from Time Warp. I will look into the topics, especially the baseball which we are currently researching. The show is on Discovery, and will start in the fall. Thanks for watching!


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