The FishLight Project

Lamp that imitates the colour of the sky using ATmega88.


1. Introduction

The Skylight Project is the artificial illumination system intended to imitate colour of the sky. This project was inspired by the combination of the Norwegian winter darkness and having an aquarium. The idea was to control the aquarium lamp and at the same time give a natural colour to the surroundings, which could imitate the colour of the sky throughout the day. The project evolved and it's final effect is an artistic installation that is placed next to the aquarium in the main room. In this note, I would like to show you that building such thing can be really simple.

In the following sections, I am going to guide through all the steps that I followed in order to finally make it work. I assume you might be familiar with some (or perhaps all) of the aspects such as hardware, software or a bit theory behind the colour. If that is the case, you may freely skip the section without worrying that you will not understand the remaining parts. Let's start and I hope that you will find it useful in your

Figure 1. The Skylight installation, including the aquarium.


There are several features that I wanted this lamp to possess.

From the design point of view, the system was given four buttons.One to select between the automatic and the manual mode, second to switch between the colours (manual mode) and two to increase/decrease the intensity a particular channel (R, G, B or the lamp).

Four light colours
Figure 2. Light colour at different times of the day, top-left: midday, top-right: late morning/early afternoon, bottom-left: early morning / evening, bottom-right: sunrise/sunset.

The actual art installation was made by my girlfriend. She came up with the idea of a city-like contour that could be illuminated from behind.

How is it done?

The device was built using ATmega88 microcontroller and Atmel Studio 6 to program the chip. Later, I tested it using STK600 testing board and a RGB LED strip.