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The Dazzling World of High Tech Hula Hooping

Posted by admin on Apr 21, 2015 in geekery, news


SpinFX

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When Lauren Shaw starts hula-hooping, jaws drop. But it’s not her sinuous motions capturing attention, it’s the flashing light show created by her spins. Dazzling lightscapes and hip-swirling rainbows transform her movements into art performance. This is the next generation of high-tech hoopery: LED “smart” hoops.

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Five years ago, then-real estate agent Shaw was bored and decided to try hooping as a hobby, and she soon tapped into the online communities — 20,000-plus people in the Unity of Hula Hoopers Facebook group and a big YouTube hoop scene. With their encouragement, she kept improving her “flow,” which is what hoopers call their dance style. A moment of inspiration struck one night when she saw flashing red lights atop a movie theater. She had an engineer mount LED spokes on a hoop and program them to project words that glow when the hoop is in motion. “It uses persistence of vision phenomenon, where the light goes so fast that it’s created in front of your eyes,” Shaw explains. The positive response to this creation encouraged her to launch her company, SpinFX, which is dedicated to high-tech hoop solutions.

Her first version, the SpinFX Pro Hoop, became the flagship model; it’s customizable for corporate events and music videos, such as Vanessa Hudgens’ music video. For consumers, there’s the Phoenix. With 150 embedded LEDs, the Phoenix is programmed with 200-plus patterns, which create dynamic circles, spikes and trails of light. Extra patterns can be created at home, and many people in the hooping community share theirs online for free. And they’re a little crazy; think wildly spinning pizza slices and neon Mario Bros. The hoop can be controlled with its Android app (yes, a hula hoop with an app), which connects via Bluetooth.

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