That was indeed one of the cool things at the Maker Fair. I also liked the little throwable LED magnets and the server cluster that ran on vegetable oil.
When I read the first blurb, I thought the fire was coming out of or surrounding the trampoline.
I think someone should bring this out to BM this year!!! Set it up next to Thunder Dome as a warm up gadet before heading into the dome. . . .
Neat... though I don't quite get why they used ultrasonics, RFID and a microcontroller. Seems like a spring-loaded valve and string would work pretty well.
Perhaps instead of the bouncy castle next year?
I'm Mikey Sklar, maker of "The High-Lighter" a fire trampoline.
One of the questions posted was why use all the electronics and not a spring or some other mechanical solution. The electronics are not that complicated and this project was intended to get me comfortable with digital fire art. Going forward my projects will get far more complex to reach a level of interactivity that has been uncommon in the art world.
There was also a comment about the trampoline going out to burningman. You bet. There will bet two of them so people can compete for the bigger fireball. I personally cannot wait to see the highly talented burningman trampoline community get on this device.
It still seems a bit lame. A trampoline is a great big diaphragm; you could have simply sealed around the edges and used it as-is to do the same thing. It would have been more sensitive and precise, quieter, and could have launching fire rings, rather than just a flame.
Using tech for the sake of learning tech is a good idea, but there it seems more like you used it just for the sake of using it. There are a number of projects you could have done with fire and computers that would have been unique and less redundant.
Ultimate humor would be someone cracking the RFID system; see any of the dozens of jwz's links to Schnier's blog.
Yes, I suppose you are right that you could call this project a technical masturbation. It did not need to be programmable, microcontroller based, or RFID secured. This argument has come up before about simple mechanical vs. more complicated digital in regards to the trampoline. I would make the analogy of why do we need a Internet to connect us all when we have a local library with books. You are seeing a 0.9 version of the high-lighter (see the circuit board gerber if you don't believe me), it will probably be up to 2.0 by Burningman 2006.
That's an absolutely horrible analogy.
Looking forward to mark 2.