The display uses over 58,000 lights as a representation for the 58,000 Americans who were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. How big is 58,000? The Memorial in Washington DC for the Viet Nam War holds 58,000 names of serviceman killed in action. The city of Lakeville, MN has a population of 58,000. In fact, the entire population of the country of Greenland is 58,000.
The 58,000 lights are held on over 800 hand placed strings which measure over 17,000 feet of wire. Put another way, that is about 3 miles of lights. The light strings plug into specialized cables. These connecting cables comprise another 2000 feet of wiring. Approximately 4000 zip ties hold everything together. There are 18 control boxes. In lightship speak the show is broken down into “channels”. Think of a channel as an electric outlet that is switchable. These 18 boxes control 220 channels spread over the 8 homes on Ithaca Lane. You may wonder how the computer signal get to the control boxes.PD Shimmers uses XBEE radio technology to wirelessly communicate with it controllers. “Must be some massive Mainframe that runs this thing, huh?’ No, not exactly. PD Shimmers outputs the entire show using a Raspberry Pi micro computer. This tiny but mighty machine can fit inside the palm of your hand.
The show is programed using specialized software but it still requires about 6 hours per minute of show to program. Due to the complexity of the track, “Uptown Funk” required about 80 hours to program the one 4 minute song.