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Pneumatic `flowers` react to movement

16 February, 2008

A spectacular 55m-high display of hundreds of "flowers" that burst into life in response nearby movements, has been installed in the atrium of an office block in Spitalfields, East London. The pneumatically powered installation, designed by a group of artists known as greyworld, responds to the movement people entering the area or travelling in the glass lift that serves the ten-storey building.

Spitalfields flowers

The "flowers" also open their petals in response to sunlight. During periods when there is little movement, the installation generates constantly-changing patterns.

The flowers are actuated by 300 pneumatic assemblies consisting of double-acting round cylinders coupled to 5/2 solenoid valves. When the cylinders receive a signal, they extend, pushing the flower out of its casing like an umbrella operating in reverse. Adjustable restrictors at either end of the cylinders control the speeds at which the flowers open and close.

The pneumatic equipment for the installation was supplied by Emerson Industrial Automationís pneumatic subsidiary, Asco Numatic.

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