MIT Illuminations Logo
MIT Logo

An Interactive Lighting Installation Powered By  Creative Coding.

MIT Illuminations is an ongoing experiment in creative computation at the MIT Welcome Center. The lights dynamically illuminating the center are, like the MIT community, colorful, ever-changing, and alive.

They were inspired by a long history of the MIT community deploying creative installations of colorful lights in dormitories, on bridges and buildings, and around campus.

Meanwhile, the software driving the lights is published under the open-source MIT license, so anyone in the world can learn how to make their own.

Now Playing at the Welcome Center

Full Spectrum

Currently Playing at the MIT Welcome Center
Contributed By
SOSO + MIT Admissions
Image Credit
IHTFP hack gallery (

An endless rainbow

ROYGBIV, on repeat. While MIT's school colors are red and grey (#A31F34 and #8A8B8C, specifically), Institute websites, publications, and artwork often use the full spectrum to represent the vivid breadth of the MIT community. Plus, it looks pretty.

Under The Hood

This is the code currently animating the lights. If you are interested in trying it out yourself, download the MIT Illuminations app for  WindowsWindows (64bit) v1.2.11 or  MacmacOS (64bit) v1.2.11 or clone the  open source repoGitHub .

// Title: Rainbow
// Contributed by: Soso

// Global vars
const w = helpers.canvas.width;
const h = helpers.canvas.height;
const rectWidth = w / 200;
let offset = 2;
const speed = controls.speed.value;

// Setup
function setup() {
    createCanvas(w, h);

// Draw loop
function draw() {
    // Set the color mode to HSB to perform hue-specific calculations
    offset = rainbowGradient(w, h, rectWidth, offset);

    // Reset the color mode to RGB to send data to the lights (required)

// Supporting functions
rainbowGradient = function(w, h, rectWidth, offset) {
    for (let x = 0; x < w; x += rectWidth) {
        let hue = x / w * 360;
        fill(abs(hue-offset) % 360, 100, 100);
        rect(x, 0, rectWidth, h);
    return offset + speed;

The lights are animated using , an open-source JavaScript implementation of the programming language developed at the  MIT Media .

Screenshot of the MIT Illuminations Application

Download the MIT Illuminations Software And Get Started

Windows (64bit) v1.2.11macOS v1.2.11GitHub

Who Made MIT Illuminations

MIT Illuminations is a collaboration between  MIT Admissions, MIT Open Space, and The software controlling the lights is under the MIT

Each light show is developed in partnership with MIT students, faculty, staff, and/or community partners.

MIT is committed to providing an environment that is accessible to individuals with disabilities. Learn more about our commitment to accessibility at