Swing sets aren’t just for kids anymore! Playfully swinging back and forth is all well and good, but the Waterfall Swing adds a whole new level of excitement to the activity as a wall of water pours down midway through the mechanized contraption. The thrill of nearly getting caught in a torrential downpour and escaping the ill fate of be soaked each time you make your way across could only bring insurmountable levels of joy.
This interactive installation, the brainchild of Mike O'Toole, Andrew Ratcliff, Ian Charnas, and Andrew Witte, is the evolution of the team’s original creation, the Deus Ex Machina, which is also a swing set that releases water. (Though it was more of a large-scale printer expelling water in the shape of letters and images.) For this project, the band of artists and engineers collaborated to produce a computerized mechanism that manifests an inexplicable amount of high-spirited fun for the 2011 World Maker Faire, where visitors took delight in testing it out. Check out the video, below, to see the Waterfall Swing in action.
The steel framed swing set uses 273 solenoid valves, located at the top of the installation, where water drops come streaming. Each valve operates according to a computerized sensor that calculates the rider’s speed and angle, determining when to shut the water off, providing a window where a person can swing through without getting wet. It reminds us of the mystical indoor Rain Room where visitor’s don’t get wet.