by Scott Gasparian.

This is the original proposal page. 
Please see construction in progress at http://hypknowtron.com/blog/category/hktree/

What is a HypKnowTree?

A HypKnowTree is a 2-axis HypKnowTron mounted on a 10 foot tower stand fashioned to resemble a surrealistic tree, similar to the Trufula trees of "The Lorax" fame.   The roots of a HypKnowTree are constructed of steel, patina finished a bronze brown, hammer shaped into root shapes that serve as support legs.  A translucent plastic covered trunk interactively responds to human touch with LED lighting pulses from inside that travel in sequence up the trunk.  Reaching the top, the light sequences transform and amplify onto the rapidly spinning propellor-like LED light blades to form a swirling 3-D orb of dancing lights.  The resulting effect is an interactive light and motion experience controlled by the participants touch and attention. 

What do they do?

The  rapidly spinning HypKnowTron LED blades will easily attract all eyes from far away drawing participants in for a custom interactive experience..   Using networked capacitive touch sensors embedded in the "bark", it is possible to make various sections on the trunk respond to human touch.  By placing these sensors paired with RGB LEDs, a direct action-reaction is effected, limited only by the amount of trunk a participant can reach around.   All the sensors are connected back to a single control computer allowing a synchronized interaction between the trees and participants.   Variations of "simon" or "pong" are possible requiring group cooperation and participation with the Grove Option:  a "grove" of three HypKnowTrees that communicate wirelessly.

What is a HypKnowTron?

A HypKnowTron, or "tron" for short, is a custom rotating LED display perfected by Tim Black and Scott Gasparian in 2000.  Normal techniques for modulating RGB LED color displays use a pulsing method that do not remain true mixed colors when moved fast.  The L2K/L3K technology developed by Tim Black  uses a digital current modulation method that allows true 10bit color that remains pure tones no matter how fast they are moved through space.  Using this L2K/L3K technology allowed for the development of the kinetic sculptures The HypKnowTrons and The ChakraTron.   The last large HypKnowTron still remains the only true-color large scale rotational LED display.  video of HypKnowTron from 2000, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOTUc6OSK14

So what is a 2-axis tron?

All of the 7 original HypKnowTrons are single axis hrizontal rotataion, meaning, they only spin around in one plane like a household fan. A 2-axis HypKnowTron is a regular single-axis tron, but the entire 1st axis mount is also rotated on a veritcal axis, much like a "oscillating" house fan that rotates which way it is pointing, except continous instead of back-and-forth.  The resulting persitance of vision effect is a swirling 3D sphere of chasing lights that is unique in all the known universe.  The engineering design challenges have all been addressed in The ChakraTron, and a large scale 2-axis Tron is now possible.  Video of 2-axis inside The ChakraTron, turn volume down, and skip to 1:39 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11RcZZJB47Q.  also shows capacitive touch sensors in the hand in action.

HypKnowTrees are made of what?

To appease any sort of engineering inspection, the main trunk of the HypKnowTree is a single standard Rohn 25G 10 foot self supporting tower section.  This metal tubular tower section is rated to 130mph winds at 35', and provides a minimum EIA rating equivalent for local inspectors.   The base is sectional steel units that are bolted together onsite to form a 4 leg cantilever base.  Addition of water ballast in the legs reaches an equivalent of 500lbs ballast weight should the unit need to be displayed in winds greater than 130mph .  

Atop the tower is the actual HypKnowTron assembly constructed from welded steel and automotive sized bearings.  The axial rotation is provided by two 1/8HP DC Gearhead motors translated through v-belt pulley, which are driven by computer controlled PWM units with vibration detection and emergency shutdown circuits.  Power is delivered to the rotating blades through custom contactors and custom dc/dc converters, with control data applied through mercotac sliprings. 

The outer bark of the tree is a metal framed translucent plastic construction that attaches in sections after the tree is erected and tested.  Capacitive touch sensors behind the plastic react to the touch of participants and input to the main control unit in the base.  The whole unit once powered will run automatically with "screen saver" type patterns to attract participants, and then enter into a full interactive mode once lured in.


And the Cost ?

The most esoteric part of the HypKnowTrees are the LED PCBoards that go in the spinning blades.  These are already made and need only to be assembled with the LED's and L2K components, thus not part of the total cost.  The largest single part of the budget is the pre-manufactured tower sections so to avoid need for separate engineering documents, with the raw steel needed for the base and roots close behind.  In order to provide trouble free continuous operation, the rotation bearings, motors, power commutators, and data couplers are all of the automotive variety and oversized to operate without intervention.  Microcontrollers, motor controls, touch sensors, and addressable LED striplites for the trunk will all be sourced new.  The welding of the base stands must be performed to accepted standards thus a line item for welding is included.  Custom software programming for dozens of touch sensors controlling thousands of LEDs is also listed to insure robust non-crashing performance.

Illustrations Link Page

Transport, Power, Safety.
The entire sculpture is designed to be assembled on site, with no single part longer than the 10 foot main tower section.   The root pieces are angled to nest alongside each other, the bark, head and tron blades nest in custom road cases.  Footprint is flat, suitable for non intrusive standard pedsetrian surfaces, and does not require any guy wires, anchors, or modifications to the surface.  Suitable wooden mats can be constructed for turf or gravel surfaces.  Uneven grades will require onsite custom earthworks and framing.

Power is estimated to be average 300VA, with peaks to 500VA during heavy interaction, per tree. For max load whole installation calculations, reference 1.5kW  60Hz VAC.  A single 2kW Honda inverter generator or similar should be sufficient for remote installation, or a single 20A circuit of 110VAC grid will suffice.  All power supplies are UL listed and frame bonded, so grid must be properly earthed for safe operation. 

The HypKnowTrees are engineered and weighted to operate (spinning) in up to 50mph winds, and remain standing non operating (non-spinning) up to 130mph wind at the 15' top of sculpture.   Minimum distance from ground to rotating parts is 9 feet, with the plastic bark being very dificult to climb.  No sensors will be placed above the 6 foot mark to discourage climbing or trying to interact with the tree above normal standing height.  The rotation motor controllers are of the fail-off type, with vibration, over-temp, and emergency shutdown procedure.  Telemetry from the trees is continuously transmitted wirelessly to the operator, the "Ent", who watches the trees during operation..  The "Ent" will notify Site Security of miscreants, and it is Security who will be the responsible for climbers, kite flyers, throwing of objects into the blades, etc, and really really really tall people.