contact energy pedal for prizes
The Contact Energy Pedal for Prizes installation was an incredibly fun and quirky project to co-create. One Friday a few weeks ago, I received a phone call from the head of Storybox asking if there was enough time over a week to design, develop, test, debug an Interactive Installation to be installed and working the following weekend for the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. Puck Murphey from Perceptual Engineering in Auckland, NZ – another big TouchDesigner advocate – had been thrown the brief last minute whilst having other deadlines running in parallel and needed another touch user to collaborate in order to get the project out the door.
Both being opposite ends of the North Island of NZ, it was going to be a challenge.
The concept for the project was quite simple: The client wanted a bike in front of a big screen, and on the screen a carnival style winning wheel of fortune that was spun when the user gave the bike a pedal. When the wheel stopped spinning, whatever segment the clicker was pointing to in turn rewarded the rider a prize.
Pucks end was by far the more complicated of the two. The first and most obvious problem to solve was the data. How the hell do we get a data stream into touch? The guys came up with a relatively genius solution! They attached a dynamo that was being spun by the rollers the bike was mounted on, and when the rollers spun the dynamo, it output a hertz signal. The hertz signal was then fed into a USB soundcard, then fed straight into the audioIn CHOP which gave us a pitch signal. A little bit of magic massaging the right curve out of the data, and we had something solid we could play with!
At my end, I then took the waveform and massaged the data to control the animation of elements in the scene.
I then built a lemur interface to control the management of assets/prizes on the fly, and also control thresholding to either make it easier or harder (depending on contender).
With no time for real testing or debugging, we relied immensely on luck to be able to pull this one off – and it was a great success! We all showed up to the site the night before the event to set up. Pucks rig plugged straight into my laptop (yes we ran it off a laptop) and everything worked a treat. The next day was the event, it busy as all hell, nothing broke, and we all had a great time!
This project truly is a tribute to how portable, reliable, and collaborative touch can be.