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  • Writer's pictureMichael Horn

Apple for The Giver

ThinkTank TYA commissioned an apple (actually two apples, including the backup) for a production of The Giver that performed at Stageworks in Tampa. The apple would need to turn bright red at special moments, while the world around it was as drab and greyscale as you can get.

I asked them whether they wanted any other effects while I was at it, lightening effects, maybe, or a rainbow effect. The director was excited about anything beyond the red glow I might be able to offer.

Meet the apple, shown here driven by DMX512, generated by a stage lighting program, sent to the remote control which then uses RF to fade in and out 3 different effects in the apple's "core".

One of the major considerations of this apple was that it needed to be dropped, every night. That doesn't just pose problems for the body work, but also the power source. Lithium Ion batteries have a habit of catching on fire or even exploding when impacted or overheated, so I opted to use NiMH batteries for these.

Initially, I designed the batteries to be alkaline and removable, but the apple would quickly eject any contents after a few drops, so the final design is a charging port on the bottom, which also provides serial access so I can upload firmware updates and/or debug any problems.

Here is a video that covers most of the build process, minus the software development and the electronics construction.

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