Breathing light followup

✨ A while back, I posted a breakdown of how Apple’s breathing light LED works. Little did I realize how this would take a life of its own thanks to some creative people! Over time, I’ve received emails asking for help with the math, electronics, or generating data tables for projects.

Check out some of the results:


Marcel Stör is a co-founder at ThingPulse, a company that develops, promotes and sells IoT hardware and software. Marcel was similarity captivated by Apple’s iconic breathing status LED and wrote his analysis of the breathing algorithm and found useful information in my entry (check out the comments).

Here’s his final product loaded on one of their products called the Icon64


Mirzel Avdic over at Aarhus University in Denmark wrote his PhD thesis on “Machine Body Language: Expressing a Smart Speaker’s Activity with Intelligible Physical Motion.”.

Mirzel notes that people’s body language implicitly conveys much of what they think and feel, are doing or are about to do, and that current smart speakers miss out on this richness of body language. He designed QUBI, a dynamic smart speaker that leverages expressive physical motion to convey cues about its underlying behaviour and activities.


One of QUBI’s many modes is its idle mode, which makes it seem like it’s resting in a collapsed and slightly forward bended position with a slow white undulating animation of its LED ring. This animation is intended as an additional clue for being in standby: inactive but ready to respond if invoked.

The inspiration is from Apple; the implementation details, from my post. I’m citation 60 in the references of the PhD thesis!

Seeing is believing so:

Moving Parts

Robb Böhnke worked on the Apple UIKit team and at Google Research and used the math in my post to figure out how to get the right feel for his UI library of iOS components called Moving Parts

Winterlights: A Circle of Peace

Mark Schafer set about making a childhood vision a reality. Working out of his temporary art studio at the Hawthorne Youth & Community Center, Schafer assembled an art installation of birch trees radiating light out of the many cracks in their bark.

Birch tree breathing light

The installation was supported by grants from the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture of the City of Boston, and shone in front of the Hawthorne Youth & Community Center HYCC every night for a month during the dark winter months.

This kind of cross-pollination is the best of the Internet! If you have a project of your own that I’ve helped inspire and would like to be included here, drop me a line at

Keep those ideas flowin’ and the LEDs glowin’! 🤓💡