TREE OF HORNS
Here is a detail of the Horn Tree. This mother is pretty hard to photograph.
The idea here is that the mouthpieces of the horns grow out of the copper tubing at approximately mouth level. When the horns are blown (and the proper sound is made), the light bulbs (which are suspended from copper tubing overhead) light up. The tree was engineered so that some bulbs light up at some frequencies, and others light up at other frequencies, see? So that if you blow a high note a certain bank of lights go on, and if you blow a low note another bank of lights goes on. Make sense? No? Well here’s a video to explain:
And here’s another picture–a little blurry, but you can get the idea:
My dad helped me to engineer the base (so that it wouldn’t fall over) and then he had to leave, So my friend Mark took over to help with the engineering of the light bulbs–that is, making the light bulbs turn on when the horns are blown. Turns out he knew of this fun thing called a Color Organ. It’s the device that makes those awesome light banks from the seventies function. Don’t know what I’m talking about? I think you do:
Nowadays you can buy a printed circuit board kit that controls the lights. Thank God that Mark knew how to 1) order it and, 2) solder the damn thing together.
The PCB is almost as interesting as the horn tree, really. It looks like three little robot guys with three little robot drums getting ready for a drum circle:
Here’s a wee video of Ken and Mark testing the color organ:
One more thing I’d like to note: Caralie and I felt very proud of ourselves because we learned how to attach plugs and sockets to electrical wire. Here’s a picture of us doing a victory dance:
Did you know that electrical wire is made of latex? I didn’t. One bad side effect of working with this stuff all day (I learned to use a wire stripper!) is that my latex allergy has been upgraded from mild to relatively severe. Now I’m allergic to all sorts of things. I’m even allergic to my iPod headphones. Sheesh.