Air Puddle

December 20, 2013

Several months ago my godmother phoned me. She was asking about what I was up to these days and if I was interested in working with her on an exciting new project that involved configuring some interactive projectors with an added dimension. I was quick to say yes and mention that I was actually just in the process of registering our start-up with companies’ house, as luck would have it. Our first external client was born!

The dome

Air puddle is an exciting take on human interaction, taking a giant inflated pillow (10m x 12m) and adding two interactive projectors in series. This project is not like any we had undertaken before, having never seen the software they were going to use nor having never worked with projectors. Having said that, here at GearedApp we are always up for a challenge!

The project went underway in September where we had a series of strategic meetings to pin down exactly what this project was going to be. Due to the duration of the project (7 weeks) everyone was under a lot of pressure and we quickly leapt into action. Despite several project hitches and our main developer moving home to Saudi we were able to successfully deliver a working series of effects, which we had configured with some bespoke graphics.

I should probably mention now that this installation was going to take place on the rooftop terrace of the Princes mall on Princesses street, Edinburgh. This meant that the pillow was going to be sheltered by a huge air shell. The shell spans 14m and is 5m tall, and looks magnificent against the Edinburgh skyline.

Eager to get stuck in, I agreed to help with the construction of the air shell. This involved a merry few of us hauling 8 metric tonnes of sand from Waverly Bridge up onto the terrace, as well as unloading the 900kg odd box that held the shell and pillow. Once these materials were all hauled into place it was time to assemble. The air shell itself is bespoke and so its creator was flown up to show us how it is constructed. For something so huge, it is remarkably simple. The structure features a spine, which is filled with air, and then left and then the walls are constantly filled with air, which makes the dome fairly dynamic and lifelike. Once this is inflated we needed to fill the walls with all the sand. This meant detaching the fans and climbing inside the walls; stacking the sandbags 4 high. This laborious process took us well into the night, once completed though we were all able to marvel at it. The next day we undertook putting together the trust and projectors, this required quite a lot of configuration. Whilst stressful the whole process was quite interesting. Once the hardware was put together and the pillow inflated we are able to configure the cameras and sensitivity. After some teething problems (of course) we are able to jump around happily on our newly inflated interactive pillow! It feels like walking on jelly, which is quite surreal.

 

The Air Puddle installation will be running from the 23rd of November until the 5th of January, this is only its first iteration though, so keep your eyes peeled for the Easter installation that promises to even more exciting! For more information please visit www.airpuddle.com

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