A U.S. Army Medical Command facility built a waterfall in the Mojave Desert to create a soothing feature in the building’s lobby – but used LED displays instead of real water.
The Weed Army Community Hospital at Fort Irwin, California – located in an area that gets insanely hot through part of year – worked with integrator nuMedia Innovations to create a series of waterfall illusions using 10mm indoor LED modules.
“We were first approached about the project a little over seven years ago and were asked to simulate four 18-foot high waterfalls in the lobby of the hospital at Fort Irwin,” says Ray Winters, nuMedia Innovations Studio Director and Senior Project Manager. “When we started looking at the technologies available back then, the best around was a 40mm pixel pitch, but when we got the call to say the project was moving forward, we began researching the latest LED video solutions available now. We knew we needed a technology that could easily integrate with our control protocols, plus it had to be able to fit our custom design where we needed to arch the panels to diffuse the light properly which is what led us to PixelFLEX.”
The company settled on PixelFLEX’s fanless TrueFLEX LEDs. “This design was unique in that we would be assembling the LED panels in a vertical stack as opposed to a traditional horizontal configuration,” says Winters. “To create the waterfalls, we fabricated a frame for each that consisted of metallic rib structures on which we could magnetically affix each panel. Once attached, the rib structure would then flex the panels to create the arch which then disperses the light from the 12-inch panel to almost 17-inches wide. The control for the system would then utilize a small computer to run the graphic content, and we would also have remote protocols to update content, change display settings and handle various other controls through RS232.”
The content is stock video component with an accompanying audio track. Because the LEDs are relatively low-rez, the set-up uses a diffusion layer (which softens the light) and a 1/2 -inch thick piece of glass, mounted on earthquake rated standoffs. “The acrylic, frost diffusion,” says Winters, “really accentuates the illusion of an actual waterfall behind the glass, and the TrueFLEX system looks great.”