What if, instead of turning on and off LED's, we could control 8 water
pumps with our byte? That is exactly what Geyser-bot demonstrates.
In this case, there is some additional circuitry which, using a transistor
for each bit, enables the tiny electrical signals that come from our bit
wires to control the far greater electrical flow necessary to power the
pumps. Although each pump, like each LED in the Light-byte, is either
completely on or completely off (like a bit!), it takes some time for the
pump to reach full effectiveness. This means we can control the height
of the spurts by controlling the time each pump is on-- shorten the time,
and you lessen the eruption.
A very similar idea is used in my Pipedream sculpture, installed at
the Science Museum in December, 1999. In this case, the bit wires
are used to control the opening and closing of valves which allow compressed
air into the bottom of liquid-filled tubes. By varying the sequence
and amount of time each valve is open, patterns of bubbles can be created.
While the final sculpture uses 16 tubes (2 bytes!),
my initial small-scale prototype used only 8--
just like the Light-byte and Geyser-bot.
Copyright © 2000 Bruce Shapiro