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Prototype System
The LA Interchange model consists of software and hardware components. Central to its functioning is its database of highway accidents collected by scraping the CHP website every minute with a Perl script and parsing the data into batches every 5 minutes using PHP. The data batches are accessed by a Propeller microcontroller, which then adjusts the pump and LEDs. All accidents on the CHP website are rated by the artist on a severity scale of 1 to 5. Severity 1-4 causes the outer ring of white LEDs to light up. Severity 5 causes the inner ring of blue LEDs to light up. Simultaneously, the pump sets the water fountain to varying heights (5 levels) through a series of potentiometers that calibrate the stages of the voltage regulator depending on the severity value stored in the database. The fountain is updated every 30 seconds. A digital LCD display, located next to the fountain just outside the loop, shows the current accident information: time, date, incident type, severity, location and area.

The tabletop model is 8’ long x 4’ wide x 3’ tall (approx. with pump and water receptacle). It is constructed of wire and plaster coated with an epoxy resin. Currently the wiring, pump, electronics and water receptacle are housed in a wood-constructed base, although this could be rebuilt in a number of ways for exhibition.

side image of model