Meet Jen Lewin and "The Pool"


Meet Jen Lewin, star of the latest SparkFun ad. Jen is an interactive artist living right here in our hometown of Boulder, Colorado. She created what has aptly been named "The Pool."

This project features a whole bunch of LEDs and XBees fit inside custom enclosures. When the pods sense weight, they react by displaying a stunning array of color and light. Check out Jen's project and behind-the-scenes information in the video below!


Comments 20 comments

  • She should next mix in a little game of Risk. Give each person in the pool a small radio device to put in their pocket. Any time that person stands on a platform it changes to be their specific color. The color is not locked though, so the platform may be “taken over” by any other player at any time. Let the game time be about 5 minutes. The person with the most colors alive at the end of the 5 minutes wins the game! That would be a fun game for younger (and perhaps even some of us older) kids!

    • Add a time component too so the longer you stand the more “Armies” you have. That way you can either play as a fast moving player or slowing moving player. You could build forts to stop someone from raiding your area.

      • sounds like you guys got something to work on this summer. Build the game board right and you can use it for all sorts of multiplayer live games. Human checkers or chess. Stratigo, battleship might even work. You’ll have to play around with the rules but live human scale board games could be a lot of fun.

    • You know those RFID’s they clip to your shoelaces to keep track of your time during marathons and such? Clip one of those to each person’s shoe instead of the radio device in the pocket.

  • Make that a techno dance floor and let the awesomeness ensue!

  • i remember this being on the BM website as an upcoming project in either 2008/2009, im glad to see it finally got made… have a great burn!

  • Looks Cool. Could it go smaller using something like the CLip modules and 8X8 LED RGB matrices.

  • The Pool is wonderful and very innovateive. Thanks for highlighting it. Really interesting.

  • How does a pod know witch pod is next to him?
    Or is it’s location hard programmed?

  • Any relation to Walter Lewin the Physicist?

  • This is awesome! I saw this at last years burn! It was definitely chaotic. People kept trying to figure out how it was reacting. Some people thought there was a timing trick about a bunch of people landing on different pads at the same time. Some people were trying to figure out what happened when you stepped on one of the edges.
    I really really liked how interactive it was. It was probably one of the only really interactive things there that allowed a large group of people to play at the same time. I visited it when ever I saw it’s glow nearby! :)
    I hope to see it out there again this year! Any info on where it might be located this year? I want to see the new iteration!

  • Zigbees, huh? I wonder what they were used for? obviously not interfacing one pod to another, because I can clearly see a cable running, daisey-chaining the pods together…or at least it looks like it…

    • Yeah I see the cable too, but I wonder if it’s to supply power? The xbees may have been used to wirelessly program the arduinos. Imagine having to reprogram 100 arduinos manually via usb/serial? What a pain. That’s just my speculation.

    • Sorry, XBees*

  • I bet that was an expensive project.

  • When I grow up I want to be as creative as her.

  • Pretty darn cool…


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