[Noisebridge-discuss] this too shall pass - paint/confetti cannons

Steve Castellotti sc at puzzlebox.info
Tue Feb 1 02:18:59 UTC 2011

Hey all-

    I'm looking for some collaboration, or at least a little feedback
for a project.

    First, I'm going to assume everyone has seen OK Go's video for "This
Too Shall Pass" - released a couple years back and featuring a
crazy-awesome life-sized Rube Goldberg machine:


    If not, by all means, please enlighten thyself.

    Go ahead, I'll wait.


    See? Crazy-awesome, right?


    At the end, in the grand finale, each of the members of the band
gets blasted by paint.

    I want to build a "game" for 4-6 players in which there's a
mechanism causing paint (or more likely, confetti) to be blasted at or
over someone when they are eliminated from the competition. It has been
suggested something like this might be fun at Maker Faire or Burning Man
or similar, but either way should be able to work outside.

    The game itself may or may not involve a form of brain control
(cause that's like my thing, yah?) but without getting too deep into
that end let's assume I will have an Arduino wired up which I'd like to
be able to use to trigger the firing.

    Here is an interesting example of a confetti cannon, which is close
to what I'm thinking:


    ...the problem with that is I can't have something shooting fire and
noise positioned too close to the person, much less directly aimed at
them. I think if the player was sitting in a chair perhaps the cannon
could be some distance behind them tilted at an angle such that the
confetti falls onto them, but that could be tricky outdoors.

    My original thought was to use an air tank split six ways and use
air pressure to fire the paint super-soaker style, but am at a bit of a
loss figuring out how to trigger it electronically.

    Mostly I'm trying to figure out how much to expect to spend on the
project. The confetti cannon in that video used the igniter from an old
model airplane, I'm thinking that finding six of those will be too hard.
Also if I can get away with a single Arduino instead of one per cannon
that would be ideal.

    Finally there is the mess to consider, both from an environmental
perspective (waste of paper or chemicals) and a practical perspective
(if I do use a brain-control device those are a bit sensitive to things
like getting sprayed with paint). If it was used at Burning Man then
spraying water might be fun, but is heavy to transport, no good for EEG,
and could be put to better use in the desert.

    In any case if anyone has any ideas, or would like to participate
please let me know!



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