Project: 100 Clapping Machines

Sirovich Family Resident – Taylor Levy
STEAMplant Faculty Members – Che-Wei Wang & Helio Takai

100 Clapping Machines will be an indoor installation of hundreds of individual clapping machines sometimes clapping in unison, sometimes seemingly randomly. Each clapper has a small microcontroller, a piezo (acting as a microphone), and a motor with a cam and spring to actuate two blocks of aluminum that hit each other to make a clap.  

Each clapper claps on a time interval, but will also adjust its phase (i.e. time delay) as it listens to match its neighbors’ claps, similar to how synchronous fireflies synchronize their flashing.

This project highlights the beauty of and the science of sync. As visitors walk around the installation and disrupt the synchronization of clappers they can see how syncing works and how we can become part of it or become disruptions in the system.

This project will have a gallery debut in Fall 2021.

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