Fukushima Lamp


  • Arduino
  • Processing
  • Pachube Feed
  • Circuit


Origami lamp that changes colour depending radiation levels at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant in Japan. The lamp only switches itself on when it’s dark and displays a colour light correspondent to the current radiation level at Fukushima. The radiation date is fed into Arduino via a Pachube feed.

The project is a response to the natural disaster that affected Japan in March 2011 and aims to raise awareness of the dangers of using nuclear power.


Technical Implementation

  • An LDR switches the lamp on if it’s dark.
  • Processing reads a Pachube xml feed through eeml library .
  • Data is sent to arduino via serial.
  • Data is analog written to pwm pins.
  • RGB LEDs display colour according to the values read by the remote sensor.

Pachube is realtime data infrastructure platform for the Internet of Things that enables direct connection between objects and environments. Using a Pachube feed I’m able to send the data collected by remote sensor situated at the Main Gate of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station to Arduino.

The amount of radiation absorbed by a person is measured in microsieverts per hour (µSv/h). The following dose examples have helped me to establish a range:

  • 0.02 mSv/year: Dose from sleeping next to a human for 8 hours every night.
  • 0.40 mSv/year: Dose from natural radiation in the human body.
  • 13-60 mSv/year: Dose from smoking 30 cigarettes a day.
  • 250 mSv/year: Dose limit applied to workers during Fukushima emergency.
  • 350 mSv/lifetime: Criterion for relocation after Chernobyl disaster.
  • Above 10 Sv (10000 mSv): Incapacitation and death.

Therefore radiation levels from 0.01 mSv to 100,000 mSv will be mapped to HSB colour System starting from yellow for low radiations to red for maximum levels.

The data is read by Processing via xml feed using eeml library. In Processing, the read values are mapped to HSB hue values from 60 for yellow to 360 for red.

This values are then fed into Arduino via serial communication. In Arduino we extract the red, green and blue values and analogue write them to the board.



  • RGB LEDs
  • LDR
  • 100 Ohm resistors
  • Jumper wires

RGB LEDs are connected in parallel to obtain maximum brightness.



The housing of the lamp is made of heavy weight paper and follows the model of a 12 units modular origami “butterfly ball”. The original design is by Kenneth Kawamura. If hit open-handed in the air explodes cascading paper butterflies.

Fukushima Lamp
Fukushima Lamp
Fukushima Lamp

Get in touch

I would love to talk to you about any ideas or projects that you might have coming up.
Please feel free to contact me with whatever your design, illustration, art direction, or website needs may be.