Those who watched the Super Bowl yesterday likely marveled at the bright lights flashing from the stands during the half time show, something that was both a wonderful backdrop for the blow-out event and a bit puzzling for those watching at home. As it turned out, those who attended were given special hats before the show, each equipped with technology to collectively pull off the theatrics.
Upon arriving at the stadium last night, attendees were given a "swag bag" that contained, among other things, a black knit cap with basic instructions about putting it on and pulling the battery tab when the half-time show started. Judging by the looks of the show, it seems most followed through with this, and the end result was, for lack of a better term, a huge human-based video screen.
The knitted hat contained infrared sensors and three LEDs (each a different color), with each person then becoming a brightly-lit pixel within the packed MetLife stadium. The LEDs were then controlled from afar, causing them to change colors and flash and such during the show.
The technology was put together by PixMob, a company in Montreal that has created some other large-scale light shows. The man in charge of PixMob's creation, Vincent Leclerc, talked about how the half-time show's lighting effects were pulled off to the folks at Wired, saying they'd essentially created a low-resolution display out of the 80,000 attendees. It took fourteen transmitters scattered around the stadium. Said Leclerc, "It takes a lot of technology."