Towering steel swing set holding arrays of mechanical solenoids that create a water plane falling in the path of its riders. Formed from a tangent of ideas raised from the study of interactions of water as space, the swing is the first in a series that play with interaction in rides and installations. Riders pass through openings in a waterfall created by precisely monitoring their path via axel-housed encoders, creating the thrill of narrowly escaping obstacles.
The swing is a collaborative project between Mike O’Toole, Andrew Ratcliff, Ian Charnas and Andrew Witte.
How the Waterfall Swing works
Water recirculates through 273 independently controlled solenoid valves at the top of the structure to create a wall of water. This water starts from a collection pool on the ground and is pumped up to a large pipe that feeds the solenoids. Sensors mounted on the swingset gather information about the angle and speed of each swing. That information is sent to a computer that predicts the action of the rider. The computer then creates a hole in the wall of water, allowing the rider to swing through without getting wet.
Waterfall Swing Technical Specs
Solenoids 273 independently controlled one way direct acting, normally closed, 24v .25 amp with a 15ms delay. 1/8" ID outlet. They are surplus units, currently out of production.
Controller The controller board was designed by Andrew Witte, each one operating 16 solenoids using simple BJT transistors, and connected to the computer over a 1 Megabaud RS-485 connection.
Encoders for Position Sensing 10-bit absolute position Kubler Rotary Encoder, Model T8.5850.ZP15.B102
Software Multi-threaded Ruby application. One thread converts regular bitmap image files (of the shape that is to be printed in the water) into an array of solenoid configurations. The second thread monitors swing position and "prints" those solenoid configurations as appropriate.
Water Flow 200 GPM 8 hp Water Pump circulates water through a 4" sch 40 plenum holding three 5′ sections of solenoid valves.
Swing The swing is an 18′ steel framed swing, carrying 3/4" IPE seats suspended by 3/16" steel cables.
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