The fountain is also equipped with a 1200W speaker system in the penthouse of Engineering Hall. These speakers were installed when the fountain was built and used for about a year before they were silenced and forgotten. The speakers were originally meant to be used during Engineering Expo as a general address system and for the fountain to be synced to MIDI music (rumor has it that a choreography class performed with the fountain at one point, but I can’t substantiate this . . . ).
Since we’ve recently installed new hardware and software to drive the fountain, we felt it was about time to dust off the speakers and have another go at synchronizing the fountain to music for football spectators on the way to the game. After receiving permission from the Chancellor’s office (Thank You!) to utilize amplified speakers on campus, and after several meetings with the Engineering Deans office, which resulted in me running to every building manager (9, should be 11, but two buildings are thankfully vacant!) on Henry and Expo Mall to obtain permission to use the speakers, we finally were given the go ahead on the project.
The next step was to find some music to run the fountain to, figure out some simple and quick way to synchronize the jets to the songs, and then to make it play on demand in the normal queue. This resulted in a simple C# script being written that can time a song out and record key strokes and their time stamps, writing this down to a text file which is then read and compiled into a sequence for the player. The player then runs on a computer located in Engineering Hall, this player computer then sends the server the desired valve commands over Ethernet and also sends audio to the control room in Engineering Media Services, who then pre-amplifies the audio and runs it through a 3 channel audio cable up 4 stories to the mechanical room in the penthouse of Engineering Hall. Located in the air intake vents of Engineering Hall are four huge speakers – two subwoofers and two mid-range/horns.
We’ll be running the speakers at the game on Saturday, October 25th 2008. We were able to find license free (and appropriate) music courtesy of the University of Wisconsin Marching Band! Let us know if you hear/see the fountain in action on gameday and what you think