Saturday 27 August 2011

Getting Ready to PLAY!

We've been asked a couple of times how to make the LED balloons.  It's super easy and fun!  Use non-diffused doomed top LED lights; we got ours from MRO Electronics.  They have the ones you want right next to their cash register at the front of the store.  They are roughly 15,000 millicandella which  means they are super bright, and perfect for our purposes.  We also tested the flat top LEDs and those made all of the balloons  pop after just a little bit of play time.  Also, avoid buying cheap balloons.  The initially tested balloons from Canuck Amusements were only $15.00 for 100 white balloons...but those popped the moment we started hitting them around.  We found some tougher balloons for $25.00 per 100 at Canuck Amusements (we're thankful for return policies).  

After making a couple of tester balloons, we did just that.  We tested them out.

 This is a blurry photo of me with the balloons.  This photo is not really necessary.  

 We also tested some of the helium balloons we wanted to use too.  Here, we tested them out at Central Memorial Park.  This park is great, but incredibly well lit.  We wanted to have a ground experience of hundreds of LED balloons and an air experience of helium balloons.  Testing these out taught us that the weight of the balloon tether really makes a difference.  

 Then we took some of the air only balloons and kicked them around at Prince's Island Park in the area we hoped we'd stage this installation.  A couple balloons popped, but much less than in earlier testing sessions. 'Casualties' were expected, but we wanted to maximize the duration of balloon related fun times.  

 After all of that pivotal scientific research (phew!) we got organized.  We cut the LED leads down so they wouldn't poke at the balloons and then we wrapped them in electrical tape.  

 Then we shoved them into the balloons, and packed them up so other folks could lend their lung power.  

 To keep things somewhat organized, especially since playtime was taking place in the dark, we mounted all the LED lights and batteries on dissection trays.  The way helped keep the LEDs in one place, so if the containers toppled over, we didn't have to go search with a flash light for all the spilled LEDs.  These last two photos were taken by Yuen-Ying, and they nicely illustrate play in motion on the actual night of this event.  All the testing was totally worth it.  

Image: Yuen-Ying
Image:  Yuen-Ying
Thanks for your taking such awesome photos Yuen-Ying!  

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