By Priya Ganapati
Line up 24 cars in a desert, wind 1,000 feet of welding cable through them and throw one-hit-wonder Gary Numan into the mix and the result is a cool, fun video that turns all the cars into one big musical instrument.
Syyn Labs, a Los Angeles-based arts and technology collective, worked with Zoo films to create the video as a commercial for DieHard, a maker of car batteries.
Over three days in the desert, a team of six engineers worked on 24 cars and removed the batteries from each. Instead, they connected them all together to a central computer and a keyboard. The horns inside the cars were removed and instead an MP3 player was connected to the each car’s speaker. The entire set-up was hooked to one DieHard battery.
As Numan hit each key on his keyboard, the software turned on the lights and sound for the corresponding car. It activated the speaker in that car so the MP3 player would blare out the right note for just a few seconds, says Brent Bushnell, who works at the Labs.
“Everything in the car, the keyboard and the computer was powered using a single DieHard battery,” says Eric Gradman, one of the engineers who worked on the project. “Overall, we consumed just about 31.3 amphours.”
The Labs’ previous project was a Rube Goldberg machine whose action perfectly meshes with a song from pop band OK Go.
And if you are wondering what song the cars are blaring, it is Numan’s 1979 hit ‘Cars.’
Video: Syyn Labs