Simply Ballooning

photo by Sarah Parvini

photo by Sarah Parvini

In 2013 they shot a documentary on the Balloon Chain, a massive mobile art installation which is a popular fixture at Burning Man, Coachella, and other festivals.

The Balloon Chain, created by Robert Bose and Michael Cha, was an underground hit at last year’s Fete de Lumieres in Lyons, France. It uses not-yet-public, cutting edge Blinky Lights technology from San Francisco’s LumiGeek.

lyon1An impossibly long string of balloons is a familiar sight at festivals and concerts across the country. The Balloon Chain by Robert Bose has graced Burning Man, Coachella, Lightning In A Bottle, and Treasure Island Music Festival, as well as international events such as Boom in Portugal and Fete des Lumieres in France.

LumiGeek co-founders Joe Martin and John Taylor met Robert Bose by chance at Coachella. They poised the question to Robert, “Have you considered multi-color LEDs and remote control?”. He quickly answered, “Of course, but I don’t have the slightest idea how to do it.”

lyon2After the chance meeting, Martin and Taylor set out to create a system with an ultra-light LED circuit board, rechargeable battery, color-changing LED, and a receive-only antenna. Prior to 2012, the balloons used an ingenius yet primitive lighting system consisting of a watch battery, LED, alligator clip, and hot glue.

Now the system has evolved to include a custom charging station for the circuits, a combination WiFi base station and RF transmitter to control patterns and colors at nearly a mile away, and a custom iPad application by Pat Barry to ‘finger paint’ on the strand of the balloons, as well as play video-based patterns in real-time

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