This hacked "Waterfall Swing" puts kids through dozens of rainstorms each minute.

Who knew there were such die-hard swinging aficionados out there? This interactive-playground breakthrough is drawing fewer YouTube comments on its crazy design than, allegedly, the utterly pathetic technique of the swingers. They are "terrible swingers," who look "like how a robot would try to swing," and "the one in the red shirt clearly had no childhood."

C'mon, fellas, give them a break! It must be hard to focus on swinging, after all, when you're dodging dozens of sudden rainstorms each minute. That's the tempestuous environment that the "Waterfall Swing" throws users into when they plop their butts into its saddles. The leaky recreational equipment was created by gadgetheads at Dash 7 Design, the same people who built a "floating city" powered by motorcycles on the Ganges. They explain:

Towering steel swing set holding arrays of mechanical solenoids that create a water plane falling in the path of its riders. Formed from a tangent of ideas raised from the study of interactions of water as space, the swing is the first in a series that play with interaction in rides and installations. Riders pass through openings in a waterfall created by precisely monitoring their path via axel-housed encoders, creating the thrill of narrowly escaping obstacles. 

Before anybody gets angry with how much water this contraption is pouring into the ground: Don't worry. It's being sucked up from a collection pond on the ground, and reused to create the "rain." Add strobe lights and speakers that clap uproariously with fake thunder, and you have the perfect plaything to overjoy or terrify your children, depending on their opinions of electric storms.

This footage of the swing in operation is from last September's World Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science. If you'd like to build a backyard version, there is a rough guideline for the 2010 prototype, titled "Deus Ex Machine," posted here. (Tip: Stock up now on "independently actuated solenoids" – you're going to need 273 of them.)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A sign outside a storefront in Buffalo, New York.
    Environment

    Will Buffalo Become a Climate Change Haven?

    The Western New York city possesses a distinct mix of weather, geography, and infrastructure that could make it a potential climate haven. But for whom?

  2. photo: A vacant home in Oakland that is about to demolished for an apartment complex.
    Equity

    Fix California's Housing Crisis, Activists Say. But Which One?

    As a controversy over unoccupied homes in the Bay Area and Los Angeles reveals, advocates disagree about what kind of housing should be built, and where.

  3. photo: a high-speed train in Switzerland
    Transportation

    The Case for Portland-to-Vancouver High-Speed Rail

    At the Cascadia Rail Summit outside Seattle, a fledgling scheme to bring high-speed rail from Portland to Vancouver found an enthusiastic reception.

  4. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  5. photo: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue
    Equity

    What the USDA’s New Food Stamp Rule Will Do

    By tightening food stamp work requirements, the Trump administration limits states’ ability to aid high-unemployment areas. And more regulations are coming.

×