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. Transportation

    Portland Prepares for the Freeway Fight of the Century

    A grass-capped highway expansion in a gentrifying neighborhood? Sounds familiar.

  2. Design

    Octopuses Are Urbanists, Too

    Scientists were surprised to find that this smart and solitary species had built a cephalopod city. Why?

  3. Equity

    This Startup Helps You Buy a House (If You Hand Over Your Airbnb Income)

    For buyers in hot real-estate markets, a new kind of mortgage offered by a company called Loftium might offer a way to purchase a home.

  4. Smoke is released into the sky at an oil refinery in Wilmington, California
    Environment

    What Will Happen to the Gulf Coast If the Oil Industry Retreats?

    Hurricane Harvey pummeled the country’s energy infrastructure, and there are few incentives in place to promote renewables.

  5. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh at an event outside City Hall.
    Transportation

    Boston Transportation Advocates Aren't So Sure About Their Mayor

    Some in “America's Walking City” say Marty Walsh has brought big promises, but few results for walking, bicycling, and public transit.