Dance of the… (construction) cranes

Hacking is all about using parts and resources in an unconventional way. If stringing a pair of high-rise cranes with LED Christmas lights and making them move to a piece of classical music isn’t unconventional, then we don’t know what is. For nearly a quarter of every hour last night, 2 crane operators, along with two ‘choreographers’, swung and spun the cranes around in a coordinated fashion. The project was created by [Brandon Vickerd] as part of Nuit Blanche.  Its purpose was to showcase the technology that builds the cities we live in. A live video stream from various viewpoints was projected on site, below the cranes.

A bright way to cycle

Want to be visible when cycling at night? [Neon Dean] came up with this possible solution, which he cruised on at Nuit Blanche. Its a bicycle with neon lights mounted on every surface possible. [Dean], who gave a similar treatment to his car, explained how it worked. All of the tubes take their power from a 12VDC battery he carries in a fanny pack. 12V is a far too low voltage to power the tubes, so a step up transformer is used to bring that number way up. [Dean] also decided to install a neon tube on each wheel. In order to deliver power to them, he mounted a rotor on each wheel, with two conductive tracks running close to the edge of each rotor. Two strips of steel act as brushes (in a manner similar to those on slot cars), and deliver the stepped-up power to the tubes. One creative, but perhaps not so bright, idea is [Dean]‘s neon tube helmet.

NeonDeanBrushes12Vfanny transformer copy

CN Tower synced with techno

As part of Nuit Blanche, Toronto’s annual community art event, the CN Tower’s lighting system got put to some creative use. Installed 2 years ago, the RGB LED-based system is composed of 1330 individually addressable lights lining the glass elevator shafts. It costs just under $1000 to run almost every evening for a month. Named ‘Bright Lights Big City’ (not to be confused with the book, movie, or song of the same name), this project was coordinated by [Ryan Stec]. The lights on the tallest freestanding structure in North America were animated to CIUT 89.5 FM for the entire night. This innovative solution allowed one to appreciate the light show from almost anywhere in the city with access to a radio.

Toronto embraces 4-letter words

This year was not the first in which the City Hall of Toronto was lit up in a unique way. However, it was the first time that the government building was used to project 4-letter words. Brainchild of [D.A. Therrien], the 4LWM represents something that he imagined for a long time. [Therrien] built the huge sign in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he displayed it over the waterfront. He was later commisioned to bring the sign to Toronto for Nuit Blanche after making some adaptations (due to weather differences). The sign is composed of 4 huge 16-segment displays. Each segment is made of many neon light modules. This configuration makes it less noticable if one such module fails. The sign is controlled below from a computer, which allows it to display text and simple animations. It’s the first in a series of installations dubbed “Beautiful Light” by [Therrien]. Despite the name, no inappropriate language was displayed on the sign.

RGB laser

laser_RGB_21_big

Last month we had the pleasure of bringing you [FireMyLaser's] green laser spirograph. Just green is great for a while, but why not add red and blue for a full spectrum of color! [c4r0] steps in at this point to bring us his red green blue laser. He dug around inside Blu-ray players and DVD drives until he had a collection of lasers, refractors, and other filters that fit his needs. With some careful toothpick alignment and glue, his setup was complete.

But then he went further by modified his galvo scanner to accept the RGB laser; requiring a custom circuit board and new software, both available on his site. The original is in Polish, but Google does a decent translation. Check after the jump for a video.

[Read more...]

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