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IntelliTect Today: Reimagining the Looff Carrousel

Contributing to the Community through our Core Values

The Looff Carrousel has always been a remarkable memory for me of growing up in Spokane, Washington.

After visiting the carrousel with my little cousins this past summer and seeing their excitement over the ring toss, I was reminded of the rides I took as a kid when I’d snatch those rings and throw them toward the opening clown’s mouth. The fact that a bell would ring when you scored was magical in my young mind, and when I heard the clang, I felt victorious.

Leaving the park that day, I contemplated my childhood memories and was determined to bring back some magic to the ring toss. I knew I had the knowledge to bring that type of joy back to Spokane. If I could design an internet-controlled drone used to drop parachute army men at the request of my little cousins, I could contribute to the community by writing code and creating a programmable light display for Spokane’s historic Looff Carrousel. I’d just need help… and the city’s permission.

Contributing to the Carrousel

Before leaving the park, I emailed the Riverfront Park Attractions Manager with an idea of how to bring back the ring toss with a modern flair for the next generation of youth to enjoy. I wanted to combine my love for the carrousel with my love of tech and contribute to my local community, and knew improving the ring toss game and reimagining the historic carrousel was within my skill set. I felt compelled to use my technical expertise to help other families create positive memories.

Finding My Team

Once the city gave me their enthusiastic support, I was ready to find a team willing to help me bring this project to life. I knew I could rely on the innovative spirit of my coworkers to create a solution for the Looff Carrousel. Several joined right in, working in their spare time, and contributing their 3D printing, marketing, and programming skills to bring the lights to life.

The opportunity to challenge themselves while creating an excellent experience for others was enough motivation to jump in and help. This type of ingenuity is something that IntelliTect regularly champions through our core values of innovative excellence, passionate hard work, and courageous honesty.

This project was an awesome opportunity to contribute to other’s childhood memories.
Ted Shaver, Senior Integration Architect

As a part of IntelliTect’s mission to provide innovative solutions to complex problems, our team contributes to communities worldwide. Usually, our philanthropic contributions come through a different medium than the code we deliver to customers; however, we have been looking for appropriate ways to use code to provide solutions for community organizations. This carrousel project seemed like the perfect fit.

Putting a New Spin on It

After a couple of months of collaborating with Riverfront Park staff and several design iterations, we now have an incredible array of LEDs that animate with various celebration patterns of light whenever riders score, as well as a mechanically operated cowbell!

The patterns for the LEDs can be created via an online simulator of the light array configured for collaborative programming.

IntelliTect software engineer Reese Hodge (pictured above) helped me install the ring toss at the Looff Carrousel.

The biggest challenge was figuring out how to detect ring tosses. We researched arcade and fair games with similar requirements to the ring toss and learned about existing solutions. In the end, we used Arduino boards to read vibration sensors and control the LEDs. We also added a motor to operate the cowbell.

It is not every day that your code gets to be on display. I cannot wait to have my kids ride the carrousel and see some of the patterns I worked on!
Reese Hodge, Software Engineer

The new game is in progress. We’re just waiting for some electrical upgrades to the site. So, if you love the ring toss, be on the lookout for the updated features soon!

Looff Carrousel Legacy

I have appreciated the opportunity to contribute to its legacy via the platform of IntelliTect’s community-orientated culture. Indeed, IntelliTect’s community participation practices are very motivating, and I look forward to future projects with the IntelliTect Team.

Want More?

Check out our philanthropy page to learn more about other projects we have contributed to and why we choose to donate.

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