The Sideshow

Waterfall Swing makes waves on the Web

The Sideshow

This is not your swing set from childhood. The Waterfall Swingcreated by Mike O'Toole, Andrew Ratcliff, Ian Charnas, and Andrew Witte of the Brooklyn-based art and architecture firm Dash 7 Designhas a computer in it. And, of course, a lot of water. Video of the swing has captured the attention of the Web.

The clip shows riders on the swings getting a big push toward a wall of water. As they swing forward, a hole opens up for them to swing through without getting wet. It's part art installation, part engineering marvel and part play structure.

The friends and designers put their heads together to come up with the cool contraption for the 2011 World Maker Faire. By all accounts, they succeeded beyond their wildest dreamsor perhaps ours.

Here's how the Waterfall Swing works, as described on the firm's website:

Water recirculates through 273 independently controlled solenoid valves at the top of the structure to create a wall of water. ... Sensors mounted on the swing set 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.

The video has certainly made a splash: Since it went up, it's received more than one million views. And it may be possible to try it out in person: O'Toole said they have received queries from the music festival Bonnaroo, in Tennessee, and other festivals that are interested in having the creation "swing" by.

O'Toole said that people get an old-fashioned thrill from narrowly missing being soaked as they swing on the high-tech play structure. He said, "It isn't terrifying. It isn't any more than a really big swing. It disarms people. It really gets people back to that childlike feeling."

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