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Students Turn Building Into Virtual Video Game (Video)

| by Michael Allen
Kiel University building all lit upKiel University building all lit up

A building at Kiel University in Germany was recently transformed into a gigantic flat screen for video games by four information technology students (video below).

According to RT.com, the students placed 56,448 LED lights over 14 floors on the front of the structure for their “Project Lighthouse."

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The student team consists of Jonas Lutz, Andreas Boysen, Merlin Kotzing and Chris Kulessa.

Each LED light includes a fingernail-size computer chip that can be operated on a laptop to play video games like Breakout and Tetris, the latter of which the four brainy students reprogrammed.

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"To play this game in this format is something really special," Kotzing told The Local.

"We put approximately 5,000 hours of work into this," Lutz, the project manager, added.

Lutz originally didn't have enough money to pull off his first effort, but the Kiel University press office heard about his idea and began soliciting sponsors and contributed money to the $34,000 project.

The building, also called "the star of the night," has become a tourist attraction in the city. People gaze at the lighted wonder, take selfies with it and play the video games, which doesn't rack up a huge electric bill.

"The costs for an hour of Tetris add up to only a few cents," Lutz explained.

It's not the first time this type of project has been done. Similar setups have happened in Philadelphia and Boston. The notion of a building-sized LED made headlines in 2001 by Blinkenlights in Berlin.

"At the moment, we're planning on a project concerning Li Fi [a system to use rapidly flashing lights rather than radio signals to transmit data]," Kiel University press officer Jan Winters explained to The Local.

"It's quite special because usually projects are initiated by the teaching body and are carried out by students," Winters added. "This time it's the other way around."

Sources: RT.com, The Local / Photo credit: Christian-Albrechts-Universitat zu Kiel/YouTube