Sean McIntyre · designing tech to create great things

The Rainbow Machine, 2011

Rainbows are revered as religious signs, the subject of ancient poems, adopted by social movements, formally described through science, and spread through memes*. The fascination with rainbows is endless, transcends human categories, and embodies intense positivity.

We created the Rainbow Machine to share our joy of light art with festival-goers at Nuit Blanche New York. Those who had their photo taken were given a card with a URL to find their photo online to keep as a momento of the event.

The Rainbow Machine consists of

  1. an 8’ arm of programmable LEDs that light paints a full semicircle orthagonal to the ground,
  2. an ad-hoc photography studio,
  3. a process of coordinating subjects who want to have their picture taken,
  4. an onsite photo viewing station, and
  5. a method of digitally distributing the photos to the subjects.

To me, producing rainbows allows the technical aspects of our work to be shown in the context of innocence and pure fun, almost to an extreme level. I believe that this is important.

Collaborators: Reid Bingham, Shameel Arafin (photographer)

Thanks: Amanda Hass, Jenn de la Vega, Dana Kellstrom, Connor Garrison

Exhibitions: Bring To Light: Nuit Blanche NYC 2011, New York Hall of Science, Active Space

Trackbacks: MAKE blog, Hack a Day, Huffington Post, Brooklyn Street Art, PetaPixel, Urban Omnibus, ZMPHOTO, Nerdgasmo

Download: Rainbow Machine source code


We created a Flickr account to accompany this project.