River's Edge Park
Council Bluffs, Iowa
Every thirty minutes after dusk in River’s Edge Park, the Rays light show begins. Twenty massive projector lamps draw huge, colorful shapes across the park’s five-acre Great Lawn – sometimes choreographed, other times ‘playing’ with the park visitors. Each show lasts 8-12 minutes with two randomly triggered interactive games lasting 3 to 6 minutes. Just across the river, the skyline of downtown Omaha provides a dramatic backdrop.
Rays is the vision of Seattle-Based visual artist Dan Corson, and was brought to reality by an outstanding team of designers, programmers, installers and integrators.
The centerpiece of Rays is its interactive sensing and games component designed and implemented by Beaudry Interactive. For this installation we created four games (Stealing Dorothy Hamill’s Spotlight, Hot-Cold, Cat Laser Pointer, and Yellow Spot Blue Spot), as well as brief visual prizes (Easter eggs in the visual world) during the game sequences for “people in the know.” In addition to the gameplay, we also embedded sensors around the park above the walkways that triggered fun light cues when guests played underneath.
Rays presented a unique set of technical challenges for b/i. The tracking system needed to be as basic as possible, so we used a thermal camera (heat vision) and a lot of math to know where the people were on the great lawn. It needed to be able to track as many as 50 people at a time. The light show needed to run on its own every night from sunset to 1:30 A.M. (with no one pushing any buttons or telling the computer to watch the kid in the purple shirt), and it needed to do so for years to come.
And did we mention that a year before the installation this park was under 12 feet of water? No? A very challenging project!
Live Design article about the project: