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Design Continuum Aids Light Installation Artist at Olympics

Engineers help to send light display racing to city's highest peak (August 16, 2004)

Athens Olympic MeteorDesign Continuum Inc. mechanical engineers Mark West, Ph.D. and Patrick McDermott acted as design consultants to support light installation artist and Berklee School of Music professor Mitch Benoff. Benoff has created the Athens Olympic Meteor, an eye-catching light installation that produces a series of light streaks that rocket 250 mph to the top of Mt. Lycabettus (the city's highest point) in Athens, Greece. The installation creates visual meteors that are visible citywide during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

"The meteor doesn't exist in the real's a mix of technology working with your eye to create the image in your brain," says creator Benoff.

The installation connects 54 strobe lights along two support cables, allowing a graceful and flexible hanging system that installs quickly. The installation method and strobe light assemblies were designed by Continuum. The electrical and software aspects of the installation were designed by Steve Gray, president of Tiny Gray Matter. West and Gray helped orchestrate the assembly of the massive light installation, which is longer than a football field, at the Continuum's Newton, Massachusetts facilities. They also assisted with the installation in Athens.

"I came to know and admire Mitch's work as a graduate student at MIT, where he first exhibited the concept," said Mark West, Ph.D., Principal Mechanical Engineer at Design Continuum. "Now it is a privilege to work with him on this Olympic Meteor project and to help execute and share his spectacular artistic vision."

The Olympic Meteor is a winner of the international "Catch the Light" competition, commissioned by the Athens Olympic Committee and the city of Athens. It is the largest and most visible of the nine light and sound installations chosen for the city.

The Olympic Meteor light show officially launched one minute before midnight on August 12, sending 28 consecutive meteors flashing up the hillside for the 28th Olympiad, which began on August 13. The meteor illuminates the city 24 hours a day throughout the Olympics, with a special display at midnight each night.

Trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, Mitch Benoff has been a light artist for over 30 years. The Athens Olympic Meteor will be the most sophisticated application of his groundbreaking sculpture "Speed of the Earth," which he developed in 1993 at the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies. He has exhibited installations in the United States and Europe, including two of Boston's First Night celebrations. A native of Los Angeles, Benoff is also a musician and record producer, and a professor of Music Production at Berklee College of Music.

Mark West joined Design Continuum in 1997 and is a Principal Mechanical Engineer. He has managed and has worked as an engineer on many projects including medical instruments, manufacturing equipment, robotics, computer peripherals, sporting equipment and household products. Mark provides engineering design capability at all stages of the design process, from identification of opportunities for new technologies through concept generation, R&D, detailed design and manufacture. His expertise is focused on electro-mechanical system design and development.

Patrick McDermott began with Design Continuum in 1994. He brings twenty years of experience developing products and designing systems to meet customer requirements to the company. While at Design Continuum, Mr. McDermott has worked on the mechanical development of a large-scale process control system featuring a novel flexible mechanical and electrical architecture for Bailey Controls, and the redesign of a video conferencing keyboard for Picture Tel. He also saved EMC millions of dollars per year with the design of a unique hard drive carrier. Other projects that Mr. McDermott has worked on include: the design of a Walk-thru Explosives Detection System for Thermedics, the re-design of a blood glucose monitor for Boehringer Mannheim, and the development of an Amplifier for Qsound. Some of Mr. McDermott's recent clients include: AMF, Varian, MJ Research, Moen, Specialized, Brass Eagle, IPC and Vestel.

About Design Continuum, Inc.
Design Continuum designs the products and brands that people love to use. Since 1983, the company has helped businesses worldwide drive tangible business value through design. With locations in Boston, Milan and Seoul, Design Continuum's clients include Andersen Windows, BMW, General Motors, Master Lock, Moen, OXO International, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, TOTO USA and medical companies including Aspect Medical Systems and U.S. Genomics. For more information, visit, e-mail or call (800) 625-5115.


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Related Keywords:Design Continuum, Mark West, Patrick McDermott, Mitch Benoff, Athens Olympic Meteor, Olympic Games, Steve Gray, Tiny Gray Matter,


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