Our Pedal Powered lighting challenge, the sLEDgehammer, has escaped the tube. We’ve both advanced the circuitry and the creativity of this piece of gear, making it even more of a crowd pleaser.
The sLEDgehammer is a Pedal Power game where you have to pedal really hard (but not for very long) to win. When you win, the power you’ve built up by pedaling gets unleashed in a dazzling light sequence. In the example above, a river appears to flow down the courtyard away from the pedaler, then the Peace & Love sign lights up. The 9-segment ‘reward’ sequence lasts only a couple seconds. When someone wins the game and sees the sequence, there’s a palpable release of energy. The celebrations are awesome to see. At the holiday party where we set this up, people were shouting “Peace & Love!”
The installation above took almost 2 days to set up. We have some ideas for reducing future setup times, but this will never be as simple as some of our other activities, like Bike Blending. It makes a major impact at a nighttime event. Everyone sees it. It delivers a green message, but in a suble way. More importantly it gets people moving and breathing and cheering together. It would be a hit at any nighttime event or at an indoor event without direct sun.
The pedalers do not have to be fit cyclists. There’s a knob that you can use to dial in the difficulty, which is especially useful for kids. If a kid is struggling, but you want them to win, you can turn the knob. The power is still coming only from the bike, but the power targets become less strenuous and therefore the lights will be a bit less bright. The circuitry is robust and dependable. In the example above we connected over 10000 LEDs to the sLEDgehammer circuit.
To make things more competitive, you ignore the knob, which means some people will not win. This could be a hit with certain crowds, as they will line up to who can beat the game. You could also set up two of these side by side and make it a race to see who beats it first.
Our previous sLEDgehammer attempts either existed in the form of a polycarbonate tube…
Or an informational board:
If your aim is to move this activity around to events in different spaces, there are good reasons for the tube and the board. But now that we know the true potential of the technology to transform large spaces, we’re looking at landmarks, courtyards, lobbies, and even natural settings in a new way. The distances involved significantly increases the need for materials.
Above: tensioning the Peace & Love sign, which uses 7′ tall symbols.
A 500′ spool of 18 gauge wire feels pretty beefy when you handle it but doesn’t cover the requirements of a large sLEDgehammer install. Thus we recommend the custom sLEDgehammer activity only when you have a large space, ample setup time, the resources to fill it with up to 10000 LEDs, and plenty of people passing through, so that the activity gets enough interactions to be worthwhile. The sLEDgehammer is not the cheapest way to demonstrate Pedal Power but it may be one of the most memorable.