Dr. Nil Santana and Dr. Brent Reeves received the Silver W³ Award in an international competition by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts for the development of the Lightwalk in the Quad.
Santana, associate professor of art and design, Adobe Education Leader and associate director of design for the MakerLab, and Reeves, executive director of information technology, collaborated on the Lightwalk project.
The Silver W³ Award is the second award the Lightwalk has received. Viget, the design and engineering company that partnered with ACU to build the Lightwalk, submitted the entry into the online competition.
“We conceptualized Lightwalk here on campus and built a few prototypes, but then we hired Viget to build and implement the project for us,” Santana said. “They were very good partners to work with.”
The Lightwalk received a Silver W³ Award in the Mobile Features: Experimental and Innovation category. The W³ Awards celebrate digital excellence in the creation of websites, web marketing, video, mobile sites/apps and social content worldwide.
“The idea was to create a sculpture that would reside on the Quad, that also would have different components or elements of interaction,” Santana said. “It could kind of inspire students for creativity. The Lightwalk became an inviting space for social, online and digital interactions. Along with the sculpture, the light reeds and the clusters, we developed an app where anyone can actually change the colors of the installations.”
Santana said the key aspect of the light installations is the app, which allows passersby to change the color, speed and display of the lights.
“There has been various mentions of Lightwalk on social media,” Santana said. “Folks talking about the use of internet and how the technology kind of merges with art in that form. It’s been really interesting to see other people talking about various sides of Lightwalk, from academic to artistic to interactive.”
Santana said when they began the project, they never thought about the idea of being recognized on the national level. The first major recognition the Lightwalk received was from the International Data Corporation Smart Cities North America Awards in the education category.
Santana said for both awards, the project was submitted by partnering companies of ACU. The International Data Corporation Smart Cities North America Awards competition was introduced to Santana by Alcatel-Lucent, an internet, data and networking provider.
“In a very informal conversation with them, they got excited about the project and then they actually encouraged us to submit the proposal,” Santana said. “Again, it was not something that we imagined would take place, this idea of submitting Lightwalk as an entry for competitions.”
Santana said that the Lightwalk has been entered into various other competitions and is now looking forward to increased global recognition.
“I think it’s fantastic that, actually, it’s going that far,” Santana said. “I think it just shows us and reassures us that we created something unique in our campus for our students. It certainly gives us a motivation to think of more projects along those lines. That, maybe, we could either continue to improve the Lightwalk experience or suggest other art installations on campus. I think it’s great. It promotes the peace. It promotes our campus. It promotes our institution. And I only see great things happening due to this recognition.”