The Waterfall Swing

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.

The swing is an interactive art piece and a collaborative project between Mike O'TooleAndrew Ratcliff
Ian Charnas and Andrew Witte and built by Dash 7 Design. The Waterfall Swing has traveled the world with installations across the United States, Austria, The Netherlands, and Australia. The team appeared on the TODAY Show - Savanah Guthrie rode the swing on Rockefeller Plaza.

O'Toole and Ratcliff hold US Patent 20110312430 on the design.

How the Waterfall Swing works

Water recirculates through 384 independently controlled solenoid valves at the top of the structure to create a wall of water. This water starts from a collection pool on the ground and is pumped up to a 4" distribution pipe that feeds the solenoids. Rotational encoders mounted on the swing axis gather information about the angle and speed of each swing. That information is sent to a computer that predicts the action of the rider. The computer then creates a hole in the wall of water, allowing the rider to swing through without getting wet.

Technical Specifications

Solenoids 384 independently controlled one way direct acting, normally closed, 24v .25 amp with a 15ms delay. 1/8" ID outlet. They are Spartan Scientific model 3825-07-A203

Controller The controller circuit boards were custom made by Ian Charnas, each one operating 16 solenoids using a simple BJT transistor, connected via RS-485 running 1 Megabaud.

Encoders for Position Sensing 10-bit absolute position Kubler T8.5850.ZP15.B102

Software one section of software is created to convert a gif into the appropriate command for solenoids the second multi threaded program monitors the swing position and controls the solenoids, written in Ruby by Andrew Witte.

Water Flow Water Pump circulates water through a 4" sch 40 plenums holding three 5' sections of solenoid.

US Pump Flotec Pump: 1 HP, 60hz, 1HP, 1SP, 115V, 15A, 1.5"

European Pump Hayward Spa Pump: 50hz European, 1.5HP, 1SP, 220V, 5A, 1.5"

Frame The swing is an 18' steel framed swing, 3/4" ipe seats suspended by 3/ 16" aircraft cables.

Installation Specifications

See a PDF of our technical specification sheet.