Kickstarter backed sand-plotting kinetic sculpture

In 2016 I became involved with this beautiful project. Bruce Shapiro had been working on the hardware for years, but needed some assistance with the software. I worked with him to created a node.js application that would run on a Raspberry PI. This application would talk directly to the hardware that controlled the motors as well as serve a websocket based API to a mobile app for control. The goal was to prove the stack worked, as well as to have a mobile app to demo control features. All this was needed in advance of a planned Kickstarter promotion. The Kickstarter campaign was launched and became wildly successful, pulling in over $1.9 million.

The project was a fascinating glimpse into the intersection of software, hardware and art.


  • Raspberry Pi
  • Node.js
  • Serial Communication


  • Websocket based API for all control functions
  • Playlist and track management and queuing
  • Path shape validation
  • Lighting controls
  • Speed controls
  • Ball position controls
  • Support for multiple sizing and motor configurations