tremor control

It’s an automated earthquake simulator, with 6 inches of physical travel, 8.2 audio, dmx lighting effects, as well as mechanical effects– all tied together through max/msp.  The operator can initiate and stop the show, and even make a few adjustments in volume and the level of shaking, through a industrial push-button operator console.  The audio system is capable of 16 discrete channels with a response down to 8hz.  It can monitor up to 16 digital inputs, with an additional 8 capable of a/d conversion.  There are also 16 digital outputs to trigger relays, etc.  The audio playback system is of solid state design; it’s control was integrated via UDP.  The DMX interface is done via TCP, with a current hardware capability to control over 70 fixtures.  The system also uses RS-485 for some of the effects.  The actual force which pushes the simulator is pneumatic, controlled by solenoids and solid state relays.

Within the rack is a kvm to monitor the cpu which operates the max/msp runtime app.  Without the app, nothing at all, would work!  The gui shows the status of the the operator console & show, and has several additional (not pictured) tools for behind-the-scenes use and troubleshooting.  The application not only monitors, logs and enacts commands from the operator console, but can also operate as a back-up interface.  All aspects of the programmed show are controlled through max/msp.  Much of this was made more versatile through Col and Text for scripting and value assignments.

Unfortunately, there’s no jitter in this; the viewed image of San Francisco is done via film.  It’s a reliable high res solution, when you don’t have the throw or controlled lighting conditions you need for non-pixelated projector views!

That’s it!  Of course, we hardly did this ourselves.  We worked very hard with in-house teams, as well as a few contractors to complete this project.



Max/MSP is the central show controller software and GUI. It ties several devices together, to create a seamless multimedia/simulation experience.

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