The faculty at the Light Festival 2018


Lichtfestival 2018

Light in action!

Light is not only useful, cozy and beautiful, but also extremely interesting beholding unexpected applications! We would like to let visitors of the Ghent 2018 Light Festival discover for themselves in the UFO foyer.

Amidst all the spectacular light art, dozens of enthusiastic light researchers from UGent amaze you in the UFO with interactive demos.

  • See with your own eyes how light flashes through fiber optic cables.
  • Get a taste of the TV of the future, where you can use sunglasses for radiant summer day scenes.
  • Learn how each material has a unique light fingerprint and how we can measure and use it.
  • Come painting with light.
  • And much more!

Some of the demos form the interactive exhibition 'Without light it gets dark!' And the following week you can also visit with guide for students from the last grade of secondary education.


  • The Ghent Light Festival takes place from Wednesday, January 31 until Sunday, February 4, 2018, in the city center of Ghent, from 7 pm till midnight. The festival opens Sunday an hour earlier: at 6 pm.
  • The festival is free.
  • The UGent exhibits can be found in the Ufo foyer, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 33.
  • More info on
  • Download here the folding plan

Important message for UGent employees who have their workplace along the course:

  • From Wednesday 31 January to Saturday 3 February, the Light Festival course will be completely free from 6.30 pm to 11.30 am and on Sunday 4 February from 5.30 pm to 11.30 am.
  • Bikes are also not allowed on the route.
  • All traffic can follow its usual route from Wednesday to Saturday before 6.30 pm and after 00.30 am. On Sunday, it can be before 5.30 pm and after 11.30 am.

Faculty activities in the Ufo (Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 33)

  • Painting with light - Prof. Roel Baets (EA05)
    Schilderen met licht

    Make your own light painting with us and become one of the Light Festival artists! You move a series of luminescent materials in different colors through the air in front of a camera, and we immediately show you the result on a big screen. Abstract or less abstract, everything is possible!


  • Shadow game - Prof. Filip Beunis (EA06)
    In this game you use your own shadow to interact with a virtual object, a clashing ball. The ball is projected on a screen with a bright background while a camera registers the shadow you form by holding your hand in front of the projector. A computer algorithm then determines how the ball moves.


  • Fiber optic communication and light conduction - Prof. Geert Morthier (EA05)
    Fibre Optic

    The highways of the internet do not work with electric zeros and ones, but with short pulses of light that flash through thin glass wires. Because light comes in different colors, you can let many signals run simultaneously in one thread. We show in an interactive demonstration this light conduction in glass fibers and how different light beams of different colors can be combined. The light of two lasers, each with different colors, is combined into one bundle, which is sent over a few meters of glass fiber. At the other end of the fiber the light intensity is detected and converted into an electrical signal that is shown on a PC screen. 
  • Light spectroscopy: a fingerprint of matter - Prof. Roel Baets (EA05)

    Do you want to know if your blood carries enough oxygen to your muscles? Then measure the color spectrum of your blood. This is just one of thousands of examples of light spectroscopy: the spectrum of light that has undergone an interaction (absorption or scattering) with a material is measured. This differs for each material and therefore 'betrays' the spectrum - or how much light is absorbed for each wavelength or color? - the composition of the material. In the demo we show how a spectrometer works and you can view the spectrum of all kinds of fabrics. You will also see that mechanical vibrations of molecules are an important cause for the peaks in the spectra. And of course you can measure whether the oxygen saturation in your blood is good.
  • Play with a light chip  - Prof. Wim Bogaerts (EA05)

    The computer chip in your laptop or phone makes millions of operations per second by sending and receiving short signals in electrical circuits. There are many advantages to replacing these electric pulses with light pulses, although the architecture of computer chips has to be radically commemorated. Discover the basic principles of such a light-driven chip, or "photonic integrated circuit (PIC)". You control "switches" to control the various functions on the circuit and you immediately see the effect of your actions on the flow of light.

  • Solar panels for the whole world - Prof. Johan Lauwaert (EA06)

    Solar panels generate electrical energy from the sunlight. If we want to generate all our energy with these solar panels, then there will be an energy shortage at night and there are surpluses in bright sunlight. Fortunately this does not happen at all places on our earth at the same time. In an ideal scenario, we can transport the surplus energy with minimal loss to other locations where there is a shortage. Come and test with rotating solar panels at different locations and with different orientations how much the expected energy production is at any moment. Let it work together as good as possible and try to ensure that everyone is provided with energy throughout the year.

  • A radar on light: the LIDAR - Prof. Bart Kuyken (EA05)

    Radar technology was developed for military purposes: a transmitter sends out short radio pulses and when they collide with a plane or boat, a part returns, allowing you to determine the distance and speed of the reflective object. The "rain radars" we have today do the same, but measure the reflection on rain showers. Here we show the LIDAR version, where no radio waves but light pulses are used. With a laser we make you  a three-dimensional scan from a distance , which will appear immediately on the screen next to you.


  • From a flat screen to 3D images  - Prof. Jeroen Beeckman (EA06) 3D

    How do we see the world in 3D? How does a 3D television work? Why are there so many different types of glasses, and do you always need them? And why do some people get sick when watching a 3D movie in the cinema? Here you will learn the basics of different 3D displays.



  • HDR television: The bright side of life - dr. Jan Aelterman (EA07)
    HDR TV
    Modern TVs can display brilliant colors and razor-sharp images, but are still relatively limited in light intensity. HDR television (high dynamic range or high dynamic range) changes that: Thanks to these TVs of the future, which can radiate more light and show deeper black, images look lifelike. Come and watch the VRT special demonstration film on our prototype, and discover the special software developed by UGent to also play classical films with - and even benefit from! - this new technology.



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