Ambience Ambulance

The Ambience Ambulance provides a sanctuary from the often challenging environment of Burning Man by creating a space of relaxation and chill. It moves to a different location each night and can be found by its distinctive exterior lighting. For 2002 and 2003 I designed, built and programmed two sequencers to animate the lightbar and large “Ambience Ambulance” sign.

Sequencer circuit board during final assembly. The AVR microcontroller uses a darlington transistor array to control 8 separate drivers for the strands of electroluminescent wire (EL-wire). I was responsible for all design, construction and programming of the sequencers. The software was written in Basic using BASCOM-AVR.

Sequencer circuit board mounted in plastic enclosure. The EL-wire driver outputs are connected to the EL-wire mounted on plywood using CAT-5 computer cables (EL-wire is on opposite side of plywood in picture). The exposed terminals make debugging much easier. Laptop is used to re-program the sequencer to display different animations.

The illuminated sign during testing. Each oval and word can be individually controlled by the software allowing for animated patterns.

The sign during dress rehearsal in Golden Gate Park.

Completed sign mounted on right side of the Ambulance. The sequencers are mounted on top and wired into the Ambulance’s electrical system. At night the transparent plastic overlay is invisible.