Biofeedback Flowers at Burning Man

Burning man, the premier desert-based convention, is a vacation for some. [Sam], on the other hand, points out that he is there to get his hands dirty. This year, he (with a team of six) built a set of 20 interactive lotus flowers that light up in sync with a heartbeat.

[Sam]’s biofeedback circuit is able to sense up to two heartbeats per flower. When a person’s heartbeat is detected, a set of high-power LEDs light up from the base of the stem upwards towards the petals for an incredible illuminated display of biofeedback.

The lotus flowers themselves aren’t anything to scoff at, either. They range from 8 to 18 feet high and are made out of steel and rowlux plastic. The circuit boards are all custom-made as well, with every part chosen to be as affordable as possible. The whole installation is powered by a deep-cycle marine battery and a set of 6V batteries, which can run all of the electronics in the flowers for the entire night before needing a recharge.

Burning man is a great example of art meeting technology. For other examples, check out this 2010 pyrotechnic ball, or head there yourself next August! Be sure to check out the videos and the project’s code on the project site as well.

14 thoughts on “Biofeedback Flowers at Burning Man

      1. I brought a large electronic art installation, and had a bunch of stuff stolen while I was working on it on Thursday. It’s feeling harder and harder to justify putting so much into doing large scale art on the playa, as time goes by.

        1. Your comment made me look up the definition, and penalties of larceny where Burning Man is held. You know, had the perpetrators been caught, and you stated certain things, specific ways life wouldn’t be looking too good for the folks that did you wrong right now. In the eyes of our justice system their act was particularly heinous for a number of reasons. The main reason is you were deprived of a significant portion of enjoyment of your possessions. I mean they ripped it at the event you had it for!

          I don’t know what exactly they took, but I could easily see them having deprived you of a significant value amount due to the fact that you made it yourself. Art can be difficult to assign an exact dollar amount to, but everyone assumes that value can be substantial.

          They may have only taken a small piece, but it can be said that they destroyed the entire work by removing the one piece. So they could be charged for things they did not even remove. The value of your entire work could be assigned by considering the time, and materials you have into it. You’re easily into grand larceny then. Quite probably even felony grand larceny too.

          No, all of this is very serious business I’m afraid. Penalties are severe, and consequences dire. If they’d been caught, and you pursued matters, even just a little, they’d be bunking with Bubba right now.

          Sorry to hear assholes robbed you. More sorry they didn’t get what they have coming to them too.

        2. My rural property has no secure fencing because I can’t afford 20,000 feet of it, and some of it would subject to damage from periodic flooding; I have plenty item stolen. I understand your frustration, but if if you allow the bastards to get you down the bastards win.

    1. That article reads like the author has some other axe to grind with burning man. Most likely if this was done honestly, emissions associated with burning man are a drop in the bucket, of emissions related to entertainment,leisure or recreation. Ball games high school college, and pro. Auto races across the country each weekend. People traveling to lakes campgrounds operating power boats , running AC in the RVs. The list is damn near endless.

      1. Take all of the RV’s, 200,000 mile jalaopies burning oil, and all of the trash out of the equation. You still have to burn giant effigies and mock cities for really no good reason, still have to truck all of the human waste from porta-potties back to civilization, and still have to truck water in for 60,000 people. Completely different than venues with sewer systems and plumbing like campgrounds and other arenas. The point is that it could easily turn itself into a venue for the true counterculture promoting sustainable practices, rather than a post-apocalyptic hippy rave. Sadly rave hippies like to bath in denial and apathy.

  1. Hey Sam! We had a great conversation on sunday night while you were putting together the last of the flowers. It’s an inspirational project, and mad props to you for having your stuff survive the desert. Still running on saturday in the timelapse vid.

    for the record, my LED double staffs survived too, just broke one USB micro charge connector off the board. Fortunately I had a backup plan with an external charger.

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