The Dream of a Man "Unshaken" by Parkinson's Disease



The dream began as a simple light show set to music, maybe 8 channels for a few hundred lights. That was the initial vision circa Christmas 2009. For its' premier, PD Shimmers was a 16 Channel display boasting 7 fresh cut trees holding 8000 lights. Now in its fourth year,

Imagine:
- A synchronized light show with over 260 channels.
- 58,000 Shimmering lights.
- A Mega tree that towers to nearly 17'.
- A 25' Flowering Crab tree basked in the glow of lights.
- A video screen incorporated into the show.
- A computer control system that uses wireless tech to:
- Perform a "live" show using a Wii guitar
- Play "guitar hero" and be scored using the lights.
- "Unplug" the control boxes from the CAT5 cable tethers.
-Battery powered light wands "Sparkle" enabling your car to join the show.


How Parkinson's Disease influences the production of PD Shimmers

  • Challenge- Difficulty with sense of balanceParkinson's disease impacts one's ability to maintain a sense of balance. The challenge here is how to design a show that doesn't need or has very limited use of a ladder.

    The solution for the 15' mega tree was to utilize a design incorporating a crank up telescoping central support pole where the lights can be hung a ground level and then raised to final height.

    A make shift extension pole was created from a hockey stick by cutting a "V" notch in the toe of the stick.
  • Challenge- Overcome symptoms of stiffness and rigidityParkinson's disease is a movement disorder. In this case the body's muscles have a hard time "getting started", leaving the patient stiff and rigid. almost statue like. Medication along with strenuous physical exercise relieve these symptoms so work on the light show must be timed to the medications peak benefit times.
  • Challenge- Control of motor skill

    Parkinson's usually impacts one limbs making even simple tasks difficult. Picture a person who has difficulty brushing their teeth or cutting food with a knife, employing the dexterity to work a mouse within a "paint" environment on a computer or to solder a electronic resistor the thickness of a hair to a PC board. This is overcome by thoughtful planning of time, medication timing and keeping a good skillset of physical exercises.
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By the Numbers


  • 3 24 Channel Dimmable Renard
  • 5 16 Channel Dimmable Renard
  • 3 8 Channel Dimmable Renard
  • 5 4 Channel Dimmable Renard
  • 58,000 Lights
  • 3,000 feet of wire
  • 3,000 "Zip" ties
  • 500' PVC
  • 25 Songs Sequenced
  • 500 programming hours
  • 300 development hours for Sparkle
  • 7 Artificial trees
  • 24 14 Gallon storage tubs