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“Digital Confetti” is a one night interactive installation for the Metropolitan Home Magazine’s “Design 100″ party celebrating their annual issue honoring 100 of the most noteworthy personalities, places and extraordinary objects in the world of innovative design. Rockwell Group LAB transforms the mid-century modern interior of the Four Seasons Pool Room with an interactive sound and light installation. David Rockwell’s continuing interest in spectacle and temporary installations, combined with digital media, encourage exploration of enhanced and memorable experiences.
The installation builds off traditional interactive party elements such as noisemakers, confetti, balloons, and fireworks, creating an entertaining centerpiece allowing both individual and group interaction. A twelve-foot diameter weather balloon floats above the pool at the Four Seasons restaurant. Projectors surrounding the balloon display “Digital Confetti”, small colorful shapes that mimic swimming fish in their movements. The graphic on the screen is also effected by special maracas around the pool. Shaking each of the eight maracas has a separate effect on the projected ecosystem. One stirs up the confetti, causing a firework-like spectacle of light, color and sound. The second brings text to the surface of the balloon. Continued shaking of these maracas causes letters to vibrate and eventually flip and transform into one of a sequence of words related to design. The words are projected as black, causing them to be illuminated by the background explosions of confetti, which encourages collaborative interaction. Each maraca also generates a different musical note, creating a harmony of sounds when all shaken together. The forms of brightly colored maracas are 3-D versions of the confetti.
We developed custom software using Openframeworks, an open development environment for C++. The “Digital Confetti” program runs on four Mac Pro Computers, while a Mac Mini runs our sound software. The maracas contain a microcontroller with an accelerometer to measure its movements, and a bluetooth radio to communicate to the computers. Dried beans inside the maracas produce the shaking sound and an offset motor that creates vibration. The projected confetti uses a flocking algorithm to determine its motion, and the locations of the visual explosions of confetti are controlled by the orientation of the maraca as it is shaken. The text is rendered in a font created for this installation.