26. Feb 2016

Volatiles – glass mosaics with smart lighting

Mosaics have been applied to create images and artwork since classical times. Glass and pebble mosaics were widely used in the time of the Roman Empire, applied to floors and walls to depict scenes, historic events or simply attractive patterns. Why should this traditional art form not be revived and applied in conjunction with smart lighting solutions?


When René Schulz and Florian Nübling founded Volasystems GmbH, their goal was to pave the way – almost literally – to the smart lighting of surfaces using innovative ultra-thin LED tile modules. One issue that occupied the suppliers of the lighting technology and controls when developing this solution was how smart home requirements will change over time. The outcome of their deliberations is a stimulating and simultaneously functional lighting solution that lends itself to seamless integration into any existing surface. Volatiles are predestined for applications in healthcare environments and wellness areas. Relaxing colour combinations in spas, lighting effects for special occasions, or integration into Smart Home environments with intuitive response and messaging – all can be realised using the glass mosaic lighting modules. volaTiles modules can display millions of different colours. If desired, each stone can illuminate in a different colour. Furthermore, the individual tiles are touch-sensitive. The glass mosaic LED modules can be applied to a floor or wall, as desired, to create patterns and images as in classical times. Proximity sensors allow a surface to adapt autonomously to ist environment or the people moving around in it. In this way, a surface surrounding a mirror could light up when someone approaches or simply adapt to the ambient lighting. The modular, networked system offers uncompromising design scope: Volatiles are wirelessly connected and can merge to create a dynamic lighting landscape. The arrangement, spacing and positioning of the modules can be defined by the user. Automatic calibration and alignment take care of the rest after the installation. There is no need for special mounting equipment or intervention into the building fabric. An innovative fixing grid is connected to the power supply using the transformer supplied. The lighting modules can be attached to the fixing grid via a simple click-in mechanism. Basic settings can be changed and pre-programmed patterns and colour scenarios downloaded using a smartphone. The modules measure twelve millimetres in diameter and are comparable to the height of a matchbox. A tiled surface can be operated like an oversized touchpad on a smartphone: the light sources are beneath the glass mosaics, and brightness and colour can be controlled by simply touching the surface. The modules are available as of the first quarter of this year.


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