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Turning SF's Bay Bridge Into a Giant LED Display

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the not-as-cool-as-a-LED-zeppelin dept.

Displays 99

waderoush writes "It may be the biggest art hack ever: a project to install 25,000 individually addressable LED lights on the western span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. New York-based 'light sculptor' Leo Villareal was in San Francisco last week to test the vast 'Bay Lights' art installation, which will officially debut on March 5 and last for two years; Xconomy has photos and video of Villareal running the light show from his laptop. To optimize his algorithms and figure out which patterns would be most interesting or arresting, Villareal needed to experiment on the bridge itself, says Bay Lights director Ben Davis, who has raised $5.8 million for the project so far. 'This has never been done before in history — literally debugging software 500 feet in the air, in front of a million people,' says Davis."

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Rearranging the patterns != debugging (4, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year and a half ago | (#42734969)

Lets stop the overuse and abuse of legitimate technical terms already. It's like calling him a "hacker" - oh wait, TFA and TFEditor already did. I guess it makes sense the the "director" is the one using the term - since he's the farthest from the actual work, you'd expect him to be the most out of touch.

Woz and Linus are hackers, and debuggers... and some would argue artists. This guy is perhaps an artist, but no hacker.

Re:Rearranging the patterns != debugging (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735091)

"debug" has been used since Edison days at least, over a hundred years ago. It means get the bugs out. It applies to far more than just debugging programs.

This post is part of the process of debugging your post.

Re:Rearranging the patterns != debugging (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42735347)

Not exactly...the term "bug" has its origins that far back, but "debug" wasn't used until the mid 1940s (only shortly before the famous literal de-bugging of the Mark II).

What is the point of this "art hack" ? (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735839)

I appreciate arts.

I appreciate arts that are meaningful.

Good music. Nice paintings. Beautiful sculptures.

Those are arts.

On the other hand, there are a lot of "arts" that I have serious doubt. Such as this "art hack".

Just because this thing uses 25,000 individually addressable LED lights, doesn't make it "artsy".

Just because the thing runs from the person's laptop doesn't make it "art", either.

What is there to stop this from turning into a pissing contests ?

Someone-else gonna come up with yet-another-project using 35,000 individually addressable LED lights, or 45,000, or 55,000 ... since, "bigger is better", right?

Re:What is the point of this "art hack" ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42736509)

If you want to lump it in with Dogs Playing Poker, that's your prerogative. Doesn't mean it ain't art.

Re:What is the point of this "art hack" ? (1)

hondo77 (324058) | about a year and a half ago | (#42739099)

You forgot to tell the kids to get off your lawn.

Re:What is the point of this "art hack" ? (1)

Lashat (1041424) | about a year and a half ago | (#42740423)

This guy is getting/has been paid for his effort to play with computerized light sequencing using the Bay Bridge to hold the lamps.

Don't lose the coolness factor just because the term "art hack" has raised your hackles. Sure the artist is not using assembly programming to make robot arm peel a banana faster. At least the hacker term is being used as a positive descriptor/moniker. I loathe to think of all the discussions 10-12 years ago when the /. discussion was that we would never educate the general public on cracker vs hacker.

As the the "art" of it. Here are the points to all art as created or transformed by me.
-The definition of art is in the eye of the beholder.
-Create something and call it art and yourself an artist. (doesn't make it "good", another subjective word)
-Appreciation of the "art' means it was successful (even if just the appreciation of the artist themselves)
-Money for Art is one of the most profound "life hacks" (see what I did there)

   

Re:Rearranging the patterns != debugging (4, Informative)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735991)

Origin of the term 'debug', from wikipedia:

There is some controversy over the origin of the term "debugging".

The terms "bug" and "debugging" are both popularly attributed to Admiral Grace Hopper in the 1940s.[1] While she was working on a Mark II Computer at Harvard University, her associates discovered a moth stuck in a relay and thereby impeding operation, whereupon she remarked that they were "debugging" the system. However the term "bug" in the meaning of technical error dates back at least to 1878 and Thomas Edison (see software bug for a full discussion), and "debugging" seems to have been used as a term in aeronautics before entering the world of computers. Indeed, in an interview Grace Hopper remarked that she was not coining the term. The moth fit the already existing terminology, so it was saved.

The Oxford English Dictionary entry for "debug" quotes the term "debugging" used in reference to airplane engine testing in a 1945 article in the Journal of the Royal Aeronautical Society; Hopper's bug was found on September 9, 1947. The term was not adopted by computer programmers until the early 1950s. The seminal article by Gill [2] in 1951 is the earliest in-depth discussion of programming errors, but it does not use the term "bug" or "debugging". In the ACM's digital library, the term "debugging" is first used in three papers from 1952 ACM National Meetings.[3][4][5] Two of the three use the term in quotation marks. By 1963, "debugging" was a common enough term to be mentioned in passing without explanation on page 1 of the CTSS manual.[6] Kidwell's article Stalking the Elusive Computer Bug[7] discusses the etymology of "bug" and "debug" in greater detail..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debugging#Origin [wikipedia.org]

Re:Rearranging the patterns != debugging (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42736031)

Use of the term "bug" to describe inexplicable defects has been a part of engineering jargon for many decades and predates computers and computer software; it may have originally been used in hardware engineering to describe mechanical malfunctions. For instance, Thomas Edison wrote the following words in a letter to an associate in 1878:

'It has been just so in all of my inventions. The first step is an intuition, and comes with a burst, then difficulties arise — this thing gives out and [it is] then that "Bugs" — as such little faults and difficulties are called — show themselves and months of intense watching, study and labor are requisite before commercial success or failure is certainly reached."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_bug [wikipedia.org]

Re:Rearranging the patterns != debugging (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42737415)

Note that Hopper's log entry [navy.mil] reads "First actual case of bug being found.", clearly indicating that "bug" was already in use for non-insect problems.

Re:Rearranging the patterns != debugging (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735511)

And I can think of a trivial, low-cost, low-risk way to find nice looking patterns for these bulbs.

Take a nice wide picture of the bridge.
Create an app that turns individual pixels on the image (or a small area) on & off.
Code algorithms/patterns to your hearts content.

View in a dark room on a large screen for best results.

Re:Rearranging the patterns != debugging (1)

mikael (484) | about a year and a half ago | (#42742069)

Rockheim [wordpress.com] in Trondheim does that - they play random patterns as well as what looks like cellular automata.

Re:Rearranging the patterns != debugging (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42735351)

I guess you've never written a program before. Debugging is the hardest part of programming, it's easy to throw together buggy code, but it can often take 90% or more of your time to track down even minor bugs. If you've ever done hacking before, this process isn't much different. The fact that he can optimize alone, places him in a category where only a few hackers ever achieve. Most hackers are often just content with getting their hack to work, this is true for most programmers as well. You need a special mentality, and drive to even attempt optimization. To do it on the fly with the world looking on, in an extreme position... well I wouldn't want to go against him in a coding competition, he would be an adversary to beat.

If you doubt any of this then try it, smaller scale, and in a safer position of course. A 16 by 16 led grid would be enough to show off that you have some skill to do this, heck I'll even allow you to get a per-assembled dev board, if you can manage a display on this level then you may have some right to criticize him. Until then please don't knock his skill.

Historical fact: The first known computer bug was a moth. --look it up--

Re:Rearranging the patterns != debugging (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735419)

I guess you've never written a program before. Debugging is the hardest part of programming, it's easy to throw together buggy code, but it can often take 90% or more of your time to track down even minor bugs. If you've ever done hacking before, this process isn't much different. The fact that he can optimize alone, places him in a category where only a few hackers ever achieve. Most hackers are often just content with getting their hack to work, this is true for most programmers as well. You need a special mentality, and drive to even attempt optimization. To do it on the fly with the world looking on, in an extreme position... well I wouldn't want to go against him in a coding competition, he would be an adversary to beat.

If you doubt any of this then try it, smaller scale, and in a safer position of course. A 16 by 16 led grid would be enough to show off that you have some skill to do this, heck I'll even allow you to get a per-assembled dev board, if you can manage a display on this level then you may have some right to criticize him. Until then please don't knock his skill.

Historical fact: The first known computer bug was a moth. --look it up--

stfu. he had the code running - if he didn't do very good job in the first place. the point stands, he was re-arranging patterns. and even for that it's stupid to have to be dangling in the air to be able to do that.

Re:Rearranging the patterns != debugging (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42735527)

Great then I guess you have never updated your OS, or any of your software, and you assume that software sucks if it is not bug free? If you honestly believe this then you should stop using your computer right now. There is no perfect software, or hardware. The only being i have ever of who may have made perfect software/hardware is god, and guess what even his software/hardware is full of bugs. (e.g. cancer, viruses, genetic diseases, etc...)

As for having to dangle to fix it, well since the display was so expensive I doubt he had one back in his lab to test with so theirs bound to be a few differences that require inline fixes. Also it's not the software engineers job to design hardware that is easily accessible. Just because the electrical engineer failed to design an easily accessible port for the software updates does not negate the software developers feats. Please don't complain until you have proven you can do better.

Re:Rearranging the patterns != debugging (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42735879)

San Fag Sicko Gay Bridge.

Of course this would happen in an "artsy", predominantly homosexual area.

Re:Rearranging the patterns != debugging (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42736135)

Get your conservative mind out of the little world you imagine and into the world where words have more than one meaning.

Re:Rearranging the patterns != debugging (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737695)

You don't know shit about the definition of Hacker. I suggest you read Stephen Levy's 'Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution' and learn that a real hacker could so something as simple as making one switch control two rail road crossings (which is where the term came from, model railroad system building.)

And with a UID that low, we expect better of you.

25k addresses, not so challenging (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42734971)

'debugging software in the air'
Or he could run it from a media server with Chamsys MagicQ (free as in beer). That's 48 universes in DMX. Plenty of video walls are run that way, and for touring lighting folks, there's nothing to break a sweat here. You can spend some time to map out the physical locations of each 'pixel' so you can run graphics over the wall, no matter whether the wall is rectangular-shaped or bridge-shaped.

Re:25k addresses, not so challenging (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42734991)

(same AC here again)

But then, this is the same bridge whose rep sends out announcements regarding closures, etc -- formatted as a 5mb pdf. I kid you not, 'bay bridge closed 6-10am, monday february 24' would suffice, but you have to open a 5meg pdf to get that info. Thank you, Margena Wade. I have tried for years to get myself off the caltrans alert list without success.

Re:25k addresses, not so challenging (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735155)

I have tried for years to get myself off the caltrans alert list without success.

Someone who can't figure out how to block a sender is probably not one to criticize others about lack of technical competence.

Re:25k addresses, not so challenging (1)

enigma32 (128601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735083)

Agreed. Chamsys' or other commercial (or open source-- see OLA) tools have been around to do these sorts of things for years.
This is really no big deal.The entertainment lighting industry does this all over the world, all the time.

Except there it's often previsualized in a computer months before anything is even assembled in the real world. There is no need to "debug" this sort of thing on the bridge itself. Simple video animations can drive 25k pixels without a problem and are very predictable in a simulation.
This is simply a publicity stunt.

I don't see what the big deal is. Yes, it looks nice, but there is nothing even remotely exciting about this.

debugging (4, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#42734973)

Debugging isn't really interesting just because you do it in the air. A lot of people do that on longer flights and call that "Tuesday". On the other hand, the endless potentials for hacking this thing to display something obscene are going to be nearly irresistable to a certain kind of person. You know the type I'm talking about. (dramatic pause)

Yes, you.

Re:debugging (2)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735891)

Debugging isn't really interesting just because you do it in the air. A lot of people do that on longer flights and call that "Tuesday". On the other hand, the endless potentials for hacking this thing to display something obscene are going to be nearly irresistable to a certain kind of person. You know the type I'm talking about. (dramatic pause)

Yes, you.

One word: goatse.

Hyperbole (2)

thenextstevejobs (1586847) | about a year and a half ago | (#42734989)

Literally never done before? This person perhaps isn't familiar with other computerized enterprises that have been witnessed by millions of people. Space shuttle launches? How about massive light shows for concerts?

Get over yourself.

That aside, I hope it's a good show, and gets more folks interested in art and technology and keeps money flowing into those kind of works.

Re:Hyperbole (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735163)

Yeah, that sentence turned me off a bit. It's a very cool project to be sure, but the "this has never been done before in history"--besides being redundant--is just a little too much.

Re:Hyperbole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42735285)

Literally never done before? This person perhaps isn't familiar with other computerized enterprises that have been witnessed by millions of people. Space shuttle launches? How about massive light shows for concerts?

Yeah but this is the first time it's been done on a bridge. If you can patent anything by simply adding "on a computer" surely the same applies to a bridge?

Re:Hyperbole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42736093)

It's like hacking the patent system!

Fucking Americans.

Re:Hyperbole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741693)

Of course they're using hyperbole, they're artists. The only way they can get any business is to talk themselves up to absurd levels. They also have an extremely limited understanding about what it is that they're doing. To an engineer, making a bunch of lights turn on and off is really easy and not incredibly novel. To an artist, it's the most amazing thing ever because they have no idea how light bulbs, circuits, relays, etc. actually work.

Are you reading, Chris Hadfield? (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735015)

If you get a chance could you let us know how this looks from space?

ok..contribute to light-pollution & energy-was (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42735033)

ok..contribute to light-pollution & energy-wastage. Dont these guys have better things to do..Like plant trees in a design in a pattern?

Re:ok..contribute to light-pollution & energy- (2)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735097)

They have better things to do than snipe at you on slashdot.

I don't.

One word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42735057)

resolution.

Biggest project? Really... (4, Funny)

MindPrison (864299) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735085)

[quote] It may be the biggest art hack ever: a project to install 25,000 individually addressable LED lights [/quote]

Uhm, have you ever seen peoples Christmas led projects? Google it, check it on youtube. There are literally roofs made as video screens with millions of leds all over the house, all individually addressable.

Re:Biggest project? Really... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42735275)

Yup. This [youtube.com] small display only has 64k RGB LED's!

Re:Biggest project? Really... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735899)

I imagine they're thinking that a bridge is bigger than the roof of someone's house.

Re:Biggest project? Really... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42737001)

Not to mention a few square miles of signage in Las Vegas...

Grumpy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42735129)

Waste of money, increase of light pollution, and a distraction to drivers. At least the money is from donations and not from the city's budget. As for testing, it definitely can be done through a simulator. It may not be cost effective but it's easily possible, including the light's reflections off the water.

Re:Grumpy (2)

Mr. Frilly (6570) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735315)

As somebody who presently lives 3 blocks from this, let me tell you, this "art" project is TACKY. It would work in Las Vegas, but the Bay Bridge is too dignified for this sort of crap. Can't wait for it to be removed.

Re:Grumpy (1)

doom (14564) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738103)

Thank you! With all the "but is it a hack?" discussion, I've been wondering what happened to "but is it art?"

So, how do you feel about "Cupid's Bow"

Re:Grumpy (1)

nukenerd (172703) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735925)

...As for testing, it definitely can be done through a simulator. It may not be cost effective but it's easily possible,

Several posters here do not seem to understand the debugging that would would be needed here. Up to a point debugging can be done off line but there comes a point when the bridge lights themselves are being controlled. You then need to establish the relationship between the software address of each light and its position on the bridge. If you think that the workmen, given a box of LEDs, are going to position each one in the position required by a number, you do not know workmen.

You might get it roughly right by saying "Put the hundred in this box on that cable there", but you are still going to be spending time afterwards establishing the actual position of each one.

Re:Grumpy (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738835)

They could control it from Wi-Fi, and use IPv6 to address them. That will allow them to theoretically control 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 LEDs from one access point. Of course, since no such APs exist, they'll simply have to get an appropriate number of APs and scatter them around the bridge, and give each of them separate IPv6 link addresses. Once they have that, they can have full remote control over all the lighting. Of course, if either the Access Points or the LEDs get damaged, then they would need to be physically replaced.

how (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735147)

What steps does someone need to take to be able to install lights on the Bay Bridge and control them? I can make pretty patterns in light too, and it would be a lot of fun. What did he do to be able to do that? Because I want to control it.

Re:how (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735431)

you need 1. permission 2. a lot of cash.

once you got those, it's not a problem. you use the cash to pay for the installers and to buy the lights(no need to re-invent anything to get it done).

Re:how (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735449)

Yes lol how did he do those two things??

Re:how (1)

cheros (223479) | about a year and a half ago | (#42736595)

Because I want to control it.

Given that the guy is using WiFi, you may have a fight with others for that :)

LED module? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42735153)

Does anyone know what hardware they are using?

Re:LED module? (4, Funny)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735195)

The hardware is Bay Bridge. The Chinese knockoff [npr.org] will be available around Labor Day 2013.

Advertising... (1)

PastTense (150947) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735239)

"which patterns would be most interesting or arresting"

Huh? Obviously the natural use of this is for advertising--and the advertising agencies know how to make interesting or arresting ads.

a traffic level meter (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737577)

a traffic level meter

In other news today. (3, Funny)

Zeio (325157) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735241)

The cost of living here is outrageous. The city, county and state are bankrupt. THe middle class is shrinking, schools stink, and the situation is dire.

Let's get Effie Trinket to drape lights all over the bridges and say oo and aaaah.

Unreal.

Re:In other news today. (1)

Skynyrd (25155) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735329)

The cost of living here is outrageous. The city, county and state are bankrupt. THe middle class is shrinking, schools stink, and the situation is dire.

Let's get Effie Trinket to drape lights all over the bridges and say oo and aaaah.

Unreal.

If there was any public money going into this project, I'd be pissed off. However, they have raised millions and are paying CalTrans workers to hang the lights. That's right, they are paying for the installation, not my taxes.

Re:In other news today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42735441)

Actually, yes, your taxes are paying for it. It's a non-profit corporation, which means that any donations thereunto are tax deductible. So of all those millions they've raised? Those millions aren't getting taxed, and your taxes, whatever they may be, have to work harder to make up that loss.

So yes, you are paying for it, in the sense of less government service for the same tax that you paid - someone else is skipping out on paying theirs.

Have fun,

AC

Re:In other news today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42735853)

They are estimating it will bring the city $90 million in tourism, even if they got a tiny amount of that it will more than cover the tax deductions from the $8 million donated to the project.

Re:In other news today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42737371)

So yes, you are paying for it, in the sense of less government service for the same tax that you paid - someone else is skipping out on paying theirs.

And yet, San Francisco, California, and the United States itself receive more than enough funds to provide even more public services than we currently receive, at all levels.

Curious, isn't it, where all that money goes?

Better a cool LED light show than handing over carts of gold to companies politicians have a direct interest in; devising legislation that removes personal responsibility and freedom of choice; or blowing up scary brown people who are absolutely no threat to the US.

Re:In other news today. (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735921)

A waste of money is a waste of money whether it's your taxes, a bunch of gullible fools or an individual weird billionaire paying for it.

Re:In other news today. (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737867)

Define waste of money. What you might consider a waste, others might consider art. As in this case.

You might say spending millions every year to feed hungry people in Africa is a worthwhile endeavor while others say it's a waste because we've been doing it for decades and nothing ever changes. Why don't we use that money to move them where the food is? (thx Sam Kinison).

Unless you're saying people should be told what to do with their money rather than spend it as they wish simply because you think how they're spending it is a waste.

Re:In other news today. (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738687)

Very simply speaking, art is a waste of money... and time

Re:In other news today. (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738881)

Then I guess video games are a waste of time and money as there is a hell of a lot of art in them.

So would be any pictures in any book as they're art.

Then of course there are the thousands of museums housing pieces of art from over the centuries from such wastes of time as Michelangelo, Cezanne and Gauguin.

Yeah, art is such a waste. I guess four bare walls painted grey is what the world should have instead.

Re:In other news today. (1)

yusing (216625) | about a year and a half ago | (#42740501)

That's definitely simply spoken. Simplisticly, even. Bordering on redneck.

Art is never needed more than when the culture around it is blithely refusing to have a long look in the mirror. Reinforcing geek stereotypes, on the other hand, is uncalled for.

Re:In other news today. (1)

rmelton (165795) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738685)

Don't worry. The money isn't gone. It just moved from one pocket to another. Maybe the the people who have it now will spend it on something you like!

Re:In other news today. (1)

hondo77 (324058) | about a year and a half ago | (#42739191)

Your post was a waste of time. Doesn't matter that it was your time, it was still a waste of time. So says I.

Get it?

Re:In other news today. (1)

Skynyrd (25155) | about a year and a half ago | (#42739563)

Until you are the world's dictator, you have no direct power over how people spend their time and money. I think most TV is a waste of time and money,. as well as most movies, music, websites, organized religion, etc. The list is endless. However, it simply doesn't matter. I do not have enough money and power to change society, so I ignore blockbuster crap movies. I support the art I like (which you probably think is a waste of time and money).

It's called tolerance. We live on a crowded planet, and hearing you bitch about what makes good art just adds to the noise.

Re:In other news today. (1)

Provocateur (133110) | about a year and a half ago | (#42739453)

Well think of it as another way of saying Look! Over there! It's Lindsey Lohan!

Wow (1)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735309)

Stunningly beautiful. It would be even cooler synced to some fast classical music. Why are they taking it down in two years? Won't the LEDs last longer?

Re:Wow (1)

djlemma (1053860) | about a year and a half ago | (#42743917)

When you're talking about 25,000 LED's, outdoors, in a warm climate, surrounded by salty air, you're bound to lose a lot of them over the course of 2 years. Much longer than that, it would turn into a bit of a maintenance nightmare.

Anything can be a light emitting diode... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42735345)

Once.

Rearranging the patterns != debugging (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42735395)

"debug" has been used since Edison days at least, over a hundred years ago. It means get the bugs out. It applies to far more than just debugging programs.

This post is part of the process of debugging your post.
http://www.diaocvang.info/du-an/du-an-golden-bay-gia-tri-vang-noi-dang-cap-the-hien.html

Arresting pattern (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42735407)

and figure out which patterns would be most interesting or arresting

That's easy [kaneva.com]

Lightning Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42735471)

Done already in Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul. Video is boring but you can fast forward.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEQkNpGBGpM

I cannot see any authenticity in this project, also hacking?!?

Seriously Awesome! (1)

cis4 (2565359) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735575)

If you live in the area, you must see this! I was driving on the bridge one night and didn't realize they were testing, it almost made me regret moving off of Treasure Island.

Ooh, aah (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735605)

literally debugging software 500 feet in the air, in front of a million people,' says Davis.

Wow, when you put it like that it sounds really fucking boring.

Re:Ooh, aah (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42736425)

I'll one up him next week and "literally debug software from 36000 feet in the air" when I fly to Minneapolis. I won't be doing it in front of a million people, but neither was this guy.

Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill.

Re:Ooh, aah (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42736903)

With or without a safety net?

Translation here :- (2)

nukenerd (172703) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735949)

"Art" --> "Advertising"

I find it sad that an icon of international repute (I am in the UK) is to be used as a billboard, of even for someone's art. Such bridges are already art in themselves. It is like using an Old Master as a base for some aerosol art.

Re:Translation here :- (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42738033)

You may be thinking of the Golden Gate Bridge, which is the internationally famous bridge in San Francisco. The Bay Bridge is far more utilitarian and not really a work of art by itself.

Lights on a bridge (4, Informative)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#42735965)

If that's great art, the Christmas lights at my local pub were a fucking timeless masterpiece.

OMG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42736165)

Blinking LEDs on a bridge! It must be a bomb! Call Homeland Security!

Yawn - hyperbole, hype, crap (4, Insightful)

water-and-sewer (612923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42736243)

I dunno.

a) This isn't really 'hacking.' I find some of the stuff they do o HackaDay way more interesting than this. There, they're combining existing tools and systems in ways never before envisioned. There's real creativity there. This guy is basically doing something that's been done a lot already (every Xmas, in some towns) but on a much larger scale. Boring!

b) As an engineer, if you're debugging in front of millions of people, you F'ed up! You design your system, prototype it, test it, scale it, then build it. If you're debugging on "go day," you are a colossal failure.

c) How the hell did people decide to chip in millions of dollars for this stunt? Sure, it will look cool. But aren't there more interesting/clever uses for that kind of funding? Oh well, that's America.

Finally, I'm thinking this would be WAY more interesting if someone truly cracks into the guy's software, and on "go day," instead of the image of flags waving in the breeze, the image projected is something unspeakably horrifying.

Re:Yawn - hyperbole, hype, crap (1)

hondo77 (324058) | about a year and a half ago | (#42739403)

b) As an engineer, if you're debugging in front of millions of people, you F'ed up! You design your system, prototype it, test it, scale it, then build it. If you're debugging on "go day," you are a colossal failure.

Yes because when you launch something, real-world usage always goes the way you've predicted.

Have you actually worked on projects that have been released?

Re:Yawn - hyperbole, hype, crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42750067)

Finally, I'm thinking this would be WAY more interesting if someone truly cracks into the guy's software, and on "go day," instead of the image of flags waving in the breeze, the image projected is something unspeakably horrifying.

This is America. A simple image of a penis flapping around would be truly horrifying for many. It would be hilarious too. :)

Taiwan is full of this sort of thing (2)

Peter Simpson (112887) | about a year and a half ago | (#42736315)

When I visited Taipei for the first time, I was amazed at the number of LED-lighted buildings and structures. It seemed like every building and bridge was lit by colored LEDs, many in continuously changing patterns. Once I thought about it a bit, it was obvious, that the home of the LED should be decorated with LEDs. Silicon Valley deserves something like this. If it's done well, it can be a signature piece for the area. I hope it succeeds.

National Gallery Exhibit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42736555)

He's got an installation in the underground walkway going between two buildings at the National Gallery in DC.
It's pretty interesting to watch, the patterns are very 'organic',and the algorithms used certainly aren't obvious to me.

Should have let Jean Michel Jarre do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42736599)

That would have been far more spectacular and syncronized to music to boot.

125 x 200 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42737109)

Not the most ambitious new years resolution is it.

Are they really rolling their own software? (1)

djlemma (1053860) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737435)

eCue [ecue.com] does this stuff already and has been used one plenty of large LED installations. This one [ecue.com] involved 20,000 channels, for instance. Not that I really have a problem with using custom software, but I get a little curious why it's being done when there are readily available options that are also relatively inexpensive.

And no, I don't work for eCue, but I use their products. There's several other well established control options for this sort of thing as well, I'm just talking about what I know.

Re:Are they really rolling their own software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42747373)

Yes. All custom software.

the wave of the future: giant tv screens (1)

doom (14564) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738055)

Well, that's pretty much the standard for heavy-thinking in the art world these days. "What should we do with the Bay Bridge?"; "Let's cover it with a giant TV screen!"

I've seen stupider pieces of art-- like this cutsey bow and arrow [sfanswers.com] over by the same bridge-- but this one does not, shall we say, grab me.

Speaking as a professional Lighting Designer (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42738175)

...there's a lot of hyperbole in that article. While 25,000 LEDs is larger than your standard Christmas light display, this is hardly an unheard-of scale install. A couple points:

- These appear to be single-color LED 'pixels', so its safe to assume that each 'pixel' is one control channel. The standard entertainment control protocol allows 512 control channels per 'universe', meaning the entire install is just under 50 universes. That's going to be larger than your standard theatrical show (some shows being in the 10-20 universe range), but I've done plenty of shows that use far more universes than that (Thanks media servers. Love you and Hate you).
- Legacy cabling systems (DMX) would make controlling 50 universes a bit challenging, however sACN systems (essentially DMX over IP) would make this fairly trivial.
- I should hope they're not actually 'debugging' software for this. There are plenty of industry standard systems that could control this wihtout the need to write your own software. Indeed, there are even systems that would take in a video signal and output the necessary control commands to the LEDs, so you wouldn't even need to do the standard lighting programming.
- You're not going to be able to output 50 sACN universes from a laptop, so the laptop is probably just a frontend to installed hardware somewhere else. Then again, as someone who does lighting for a living, I'd just like to say that laptops make crappy control surfaces (specialized control surfaces FTW).
- I'm confused as to why you would need to do anything other than final integration testing once the fixtures are installed on the bridge. Turn everything on, do a linear chase to make sure everything is installed in the correct order and talking, maybe run a cue for giggles, and you're done. There are plenty of industry-standard pre-vis tools (i.e. Cast WYSIWYG) that would eliminate the need to design with the rig up-and-running. Most larger events takes weeks to design and program, and you would normally never have the luxury of having the actual rig to play with for that amount of time.
- Doing lighting projects like this are hardly uncommon any more, and there have been plenty of projects that have used bridges. I'm not saying its not a cool thing to do, but its not as 'groundbreaking' as the article states.

Either the article is all hyperbole to make the project sound more exciting, or the so-called 'light sculptor' has really no idea what he's doing.

Re:Speaking as a professional Lighting Designer (1)

djlemma (1053860) | about a year and a half ago | (#42743837)

Your response is essentially the same as mine- why didn't they just use the existing products that are designed for exactly this sort of thing? I used the example of eCue, but there's plenty more I could rattle off the top of my head that could handle 25,000 channels. I did however look at this "Light Sculptor's" web page, and it seems that he's been using this custom software for installations for a while now, so I suppose it's probably the most comfortable thing for him. Designers (or lighting directors, what have you) like to work with what they know, and I guess that's what he knows. Maybe there will also be some sort of interactive or procedural element to the work that you couldn't easily do with pre-viz?

Re:Speaking as a professional Lighting Designer (1)

waderoush (1271548) | about a year and a half ago | (#42744943)

Author of TFA here. Perhaps "debugging" was a dangerous word to use (clearly it has set off a lot of Slashdot readers). What Villareal is doing, mostly, is comparing the patterns and algorithms he developed on his simulator with the actual look of these patterns on the bridge, and tuning for what looks best. That was the part that couldn't be done until the lights were installed.

Development (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42738889)

This has never been done before in history -- literally debugging software 500 feet in the air, in front of a million people,

Why not? Boeing is trying it with their 787.

if this guy is a hacker or not.... (1)

Phusion (58405) | about a year and a half ago | (#42739019)

Who gives a fuck, the media is never going to get it right. The point is that the golden gate bridge is going to look fucking amazing at night for two years. As a NorCal resident, I will be consuming psychedelic substances and walking around the bridge when they light it up in march. San Francisco has so much technology living in at, and such creative people, be they musicians or technologists. It's about time we get some big crazy light show powered by programmable LED lights!

Architectural Lighting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42740633)

If you found the bridge light show impressive, you should check out the Grand Lisboa:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnds6tKDwOg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9H83iWD8rE

You Can See Light Art in Portland, Oregon As Well (1)

mallyn (136041) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741029)

I am a light artist here in Portland, Oregon who makes wearable light art.

If you are interested, I am planning to try to go to the OMSI After Dark event here in Portland tonight (Wednesday, January 30), wearing one of my pieces of light art jewelry.

If you can't make it there, I do have a sample of my kind of light art on www.allyn.com

I do go to the Portland Dorkbot meetings at BackSpace wearing my lighted art as well.

Bridge could still be hacked (1)

MDMurphy (208495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42747095)

Forget all the arguments about whether the art installation is a hack. The real hack is when someone else gets hold of the lights and make them spell out something like "Turk 182"

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