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Interactive Musical Tire Swing – Startup Weekend

Techshop Panorama

Techshop SF Panorama, Photo courtesy @andybot

The Interactive Musical Tire Swing is more than just a swing…. it is a swing that plays sound tracks and musical beats depending on the rider’s acceleration and rotation. The supporting chains and structure will also be illuminated with with LEDs that respond to the swing’s movement and will glow nicely at night or in a darkened indoor space.

The idea is to integrate music, motion and lighting for fun, relaxation, learning, and/or therapy into a flexible multi axis swing.

This project was originally built (1st iteration) at Maker Startup Weekend @ Techshop in March 2012, and named the “Musical Tire Swing” (see

Tire Swing Spin Demo on Vimeo.

The videos shown on the website are from the Maker Startup Weekend @ Techshop build.

circuit setup

At the Techshop weekend we captured XYZ accelerometer data and processed the logic on an Arduino board a simple mp3 breakout board which would play various tracks from a single piece of music when different rates of acceleration were reached in the swing. Higher levels of acceleration would trigger faster paced 1-5 second long tracks. The music tracks were triggred on the mp3 breakout board’s SD card. The breakout board’s sound output was transmitted through a headphone jack connected to a jawbone jam box.

Startup weekend plan

Finally, the LEDs on the tires swing were powered by a 9Volt battery source separate from the Arduino power. Because the LED strip required a higher voltage level than the arduino, we used a TIP 120 transistor to send on/off signals and blink the LED strip when a new mp3 track would play.

We discovered our sound system was limited and we are currently working on a better system to boost sound capabilities in a noisy environment which we anticipate for large venue exhibits such as Maker Faire or Burning Man.

More Techshop Photos can be found here.

Small Speaker Demo on Vimeo.

Makers that Made this Project: Christina Chu, Ace Schelander, Andy Maximow, Bill Thomasmeyer