Series List

The Sparkling Therometer Project

What is Visible Light Communication?

How to Create a Thermometer

The Experimental Method

2015 International VLC Workshop

Make Your Very Own Thermometer!

Making Jewelry

Making a "Disco KURUMI"

Making a Planetarium

Making a Bird’s Nest

Concluding the Workshop



Yumiko Kodama

Environmental Sculptor, Lighting Designer/LED Artist
Creator of lighting for the Nagano Olympics’ award ceremonies
Creator of Hokusai’s Red
Mt. Fuji for the Chunichi Shimbun Pavilion at Expo 2005 Aichi.

Also created the Visible Light Communication Monument for the Beijing Olympics, and is currently researching “Olympic IT Strategies” at the National Institute of Informatics.


Now, it’s time for us to think about how we can use Visible Light Communication to create our thermometer. You can see the miniature board here which looks like a white plate with pins connecting it to the pink GR-KURUMI and the trio of LED colors. This is the kit which will transmit the temperature using light. The complicated soldering and C programming language required for GR-KURUMI have already been done.


Since I’m an artist, I’m less interested in the IT configuration that receives the temperature via our smartphones, and more interested in the philosophical significance of creating covers for our kits that will display the temperature information in beautiful LED lights!

In the 1930s, when the market collapsed and the world fell into a financial depression, an American designer by the name of Raymond Loewy came up with a groundbreaking idea for capitalists who were unable to invest as there were no new things being made. He came up with a white cover design for refrigerators.

The design, taking a cooling device and displaying it in a white box, gave the impression that a new product had been created. It is the basis for today’s refrigerators. It was a huge hit, I tell you! Raymond Loewy gave rise to streamlining, and designed everything from lipsticks to steam locomotives, blazing the trail into a new era. What concepts, what shapes, what covers can you visualize when you look at a circuit board kit from the viewpoint of art and design? Now, at last, it is our turn. We have a division of labor here, between cutting-edge science and technology and art design. I think GR-KURUMI will be the key to blazing the trail into a new era.

We should let our imaginations run wild and come up with a creative cover design. It really helps have this kit! How nice!

We can see that if we push GR-KURUMI’s white button, the transparent square plastic concealing the LED either shines steadily or else blinks slowly. We use the blinking LED mode to indicate information is received with our smartphone or cell phone. Don’t confuse the two!

* Before assembling the kit:
Download the following free applications, as we will use the Visible Light Communication system developed by Casio Computer Co., Ltd.

For a more sophisticated IT configuration, take a look at the Winter 2014 edition of Electronics Hobby Magazine. Nobuo Iizuka’s article on "Making an LED Visible Light Communication Thermometer Using Picalico" offers some great hints.

Continue on to learn about The Experimental Method.