Hadrian’s Wall borders connected through light

Hadrian’s Wall borders connected through light


Hadrian's Wall Connecting Light visualisation The 6ft 6ins (2m) diameter balloons will transmit messages between each other

A colourful line of pulsating balloons is to light up the night sky on the 73 mile (117km) length of Hadrian’s Wall.

The digital art installation will see 400 balloons lined from Segedunum Roman Fort in Wallsend, to Bowness-on-Solway, as part of the London 2012 Festival.

Called Connecting Light, it is designed for people to view the wall as a bridge not a barrier – described by artist Zachary Lieberman as an “inverse wall”.

Mr Lieberman said the creation has “never been seen before”.

Designed by New York based digital arts collective YesYesNo and founding member Mr Lieberman, the idea is to allow people to share their physical or emotional experiences and thoughts about borders.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

Hadrian’s Wall is set in amazing landscape, it’s incredibly beautiful”

End Quote Zachary Lieberman Artist

He said: “We are nerd artists who try to find a poetic way to use technology – in this case it’s LEDs and radio communication.

“Hadrian’s Wall is set in amazing landscape, it’s incredibly beautiful and the other thing I love about the wall is that it goes through so many different types of environments – windswept plains, craggy rocky landscapes, straight through cities.

“That diversity of environments I found really powerful. I also felt it’s very peaceful in places and we wanted to capture that. Connecting Light celebrates the whole of the wall.”

Pulsating colours

Mr Lieberman says his work uses technology in a playful way to explore the nature of communication and the delicate boundary between the visible and the invisible.

The 6ft 6ins (2m) diameter weather balloons will transmit messages between each other and internal LED lights will change colour in response – this will create a line of pulsating colours as messages travel through it.

Connecting Light takes place on Friday and Saturday

The public will be able to interact with the balloons by creating messages and selecting colours either at the site or online – directly controlling the installation.

There are several sites across the wall which will be open to the public, including the Errington Arms in Corbridge, Housesteads Roman Fort and Carlisle Castle and Tullie House Museum.

Linda Tutiett, from Hadrian’s Wall Heritage, said: “We want people to think about Hadrian’s Wall in a fresh new light, we want to build an audience for the wall who will care about it for the future.

“This is one way of getting people to think about some of the world’s most amazing heritage, but to do so in such a brilliantly modern way is really going to put the spotlights on Hadrian’s Wall Country from all over the world.”

The Hadrian’s Wall Trust is looking for volunteers to help out at the event.

Connecting Light is being produced in partnership with the Hadrian’s Wall Trust, the Cultural Olympiad programme and local partners.

The event takes place over Friday and Saturday and organisers advise visitors to go between 20:00 and 23:00 BST

Near space art project complete

Josh Taylor, who we covered back in June while he planned his near space art project has comepleted his launch and produced a canvas. Well done Josh. To find out more go to http://www.joshingtalk.com/2012/08/joshingtalk-space-art-success.html

Near Space Art – paint dripped onto a canvass

Helium prices soar

Because of a worldwide shortage of helium, prices for the gas have reportedly been increasing.

Helium does a lot more than make balloons soar and give you an “Alvin and the  Chipmunks” voice. Among other things, the substance is used in MRI machines, high-tech manufacturing, and physics research.

In the US, Helium is usually generated as a byproduct of natural gas mining. Here, they are in the middle of a shortage of helium, due partly because the recession has  slowed natural gas production. About three-quarters of the world’s helium is  produced in the U.S., according to the Kansas City Star, and while production is supposed  to be increased by the end of the year in spots ranging from Wyoming to Russia,  the gas is expected to be in short supply for months, if not years.

Nevada’s Elko Daily Free Press reports that balloons account  for only 10% of the helium market. Costs associated with MRIs, research and  medical imaging, and semiconductor manufacturing may all rise because they use  helium.

But what about the really important thing, i.e., balloons? Many US business  owners say they’re doing their best to avoid passing along higher costs to  customers.

Earlier this summer, party stores in Canada said that the price for a tank of  helium had increased 300%. “We’re told hospitals get it first, then  manufacturing and we get what’s left,” one balloon retailer said, while  explaining that he had to raise prices due to the helium crisis.

We will find out what is happening in the UK but please pass on your comments about helium prices and suggest where the best deals are.

Read more: http://moneyland.time.com/2012/08/24/helium-prices-hit-the-roof-leaving-balloon-sales-deflated/?xid=rss-topstories#ixzz24jYzwyMj

Balloon News awards 2012

This is just for fun but it does celebrate the cool projects you are doing in the weather balloon world. It also shines a spot light on the cringe worthy rubbish people do as well.

Send your entries in by email to balloonnews@hotmail.co.uk or leave a comment

There will be two catagories:-

Catagory 1 – The ‘High Five’

Please nominate the coolest or most inovative project or mission. You can nominate yourself or other people. The winner willl receive a ‘High Five’ and submissions must be in by December 30th 2012

example Dave Akerman’s Raspberry Pi mission   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18900862

Catagory 2 – The ‘Whoppie’

Please nominate the a mission or project that defies belief. It can misrepresent science, exagerate results, or just be a big huge white elephant. The winner willl receive a ‘High Whoppie cushion’ and submissions must be in by December 30th 2012

The lengths we go to, to recover our payload

This is from last year but I like the lengths people will go to, to recover their payload from weather balloon flights. Taken from http://blinkenlichten.org/blog/2011/05/08/near-space-weather-balloon-recovery-adventure/

Near-space Weather Balloon Recovery Adventure

This post is an actual account of a two-day adventure to track, locate, and recover K2CC’s space capsule from its first ever near-space weather balloon experiment.  Day 1 (referred to as “yesterday”) is Thursday, May 5, 2011 and Day 2 (referred to as “today”) is Friday, May 6, 2011.  The launch site was at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY USA.

As I wipe Southwest Chipotle Sauce from my hands and face, I notice the strange feeling of a full stomach that has not yet fully recovered from the mild airplane sickness from just an hour before.  The search and rescue flight was long, fatiguing, and fruitless until just past the point of wanting to give up.  The sound of the radio beacon was so faintly trying to get our attention at first that we almost missed it when our yawns out-cried its transmissions.

Day 2 Search Flight Path (OpenStreetMap Image)

Day 2 Balloon Spotted from Small Plane (White Shape)

To have been able to plan a search path to fly and even hear the radio beacon is quite incredible; however, to have made a visual confirmation of the space capsule’s landing place in the Adirondacks is next to impossible!  Waypoint logged, here we are on our way to hopefully recover our aerial photography from our near-space weather balloon.  Best yet, it’s late evening, leaving us with little remaining daylight, we have to hike through thick, swampy Boreal forest, and I’m covered with Southwest Chipotle Sauce.  I hope there are no bears this far North that have ever vacationed in the Southwest to then say, “Is that Southwest Chipotle Sauce?  My, I haven’t sunk my canines into a juicy Southwest Chipotle-style human since that rodeo years back!”


Day 1 Balloon Preparing For Liftoff (Photo by Tyler Conlon)

Day 1 Balloon Liftoff (Photo by Tyler Conlon)

Just yesterday, we launched the balloon and payload around 4pm with great success.  At the last minute, I remembered that I happened to have an audible emergency siren in my vehicle, so I grabbed that, clipped it on the space capsule, and we enabled it upon launch.  We released it from a lawn on campus and watched it ascend toward the clouds, and then hopped in our vehicles equipped with tracking and recovery gear.  Our tracking and recovery gear consisted of VHF radios for receiving the position transmissions, computers and software for decoding the position data, specialized mapping software for comparing multiple waypoints, GPS receivers, UHF radios for mission voice communications, GSM and CDMA cellular telephones for receiving APRS network data from aprs.fi (in the very few spots that cellular coverage was possible), UHF radios for receiving the separate radio beacon transmissions, directional antennae for determining the relative bearing of the radio beacon, and standard hiking gear.  While in our vehicles, we tracked a balloon flight path to the South, which then turned and completed a large circle.


Day 1 Balloon Flight Path According to APRS Telemetry (OpenStreetMap Image)

Day 1 Recovery Drive Over Two-by-four Bridge on Logging Roads (Photo by Tyler Conlon)

Due to GPS location transmissions being interrupted prematurely, we were unable to determine the landing site, which necessitated the use of balloon trajectory prediction software.  We drove on some very rough, and scary, logging roads near the predicted possible landing area.  We even had to cross some interesting wooden bridges!  Unfortunately, we were unable to receive either GPS location transmissions or the separate beacon’s transmissions, which led to our eventual small plane flight today.


Day 2 Recovery Hike Tracking Radio Beacon with Directional Antenna (Photo by Tyler Conlon)

In this second evening attempt, we arrive 0.7 miles from the spotted landing site on a major State highway at 8pm.  Three of us begin our hike with hiking gear, a UHF radio, and a directional antenna.  We hike through thick forest with an unusual, swampy, moss-covered floor.  After a while of pushing our way through the forest, we come to a stream.


While in the air, we noticed this stream that would be in our way, as well as a beaver dam stretched across it.  After locating it, we then cross the stream by walking 100 feet along the top of the beaver dam until safely on the other side, which also necessitated throwing down logs from the dam to repair a 10-foot gap in the center of the dam.  We then continue pushing our way through the forest toward the source of the UHF beacon transmissions, and inquire about a strange-sounding bird we occasionally hear chirp.

Day 2 Recovery Hike Crossing Beaver Dam Repaired By Us (Photo by Tyler Conlon)


Day 2 Recovery Hike with Space Capsule Hanging Just Overhead (Photo by Tyler Conlon)

Eventually, we arrive at the general vicinity of the landing site, but are so close to the source of the radio beacon transmissions that we no longer can determine a direction.  At this point, we are searching every tree for a shiny, metallic space capsule dangling by a string.  Just then, we hear that same unusual chirp, and realize it is too acrylic-sounding to belong in the forest.  The occasional chirp is not from a bird, but from the battery-exhausted audible beacon we had clipped on the space capsule as an afterthought!  We turn and look with our flashlights to see our space capsule dangling from an evergreen tree.  I suggest we fell the tree, but the capsule is only about 8 feet off the ground, so we decide to simply pull it down instead.


Day 2 Recovery Hike with Capsule, Parachute, and Balloon Remnants Successfully Recovered (Photo by Tyler Conlon)

Day 2 Recovery Hike Successful (Photo by Tyler Conlon)

With coyotes packing up behind us, we trek back to the beaver dam, cross the pond using the dam again, and press through the pitch-black forest back to the vehicle.  After an intense hike through the dark, we arrive back at the road where the vehicle is parked.  We arrive in Potsdam at 10:15pm with space capsule, parachute, and balloon remnants in hand, and recover the memory cards from the horizontal and vertical digital cameras with incredible timelapse photography on board!


Aerial Photo of Potsdam, NY Taken by Balloon (Photo by K2CC’s Weather Balloon)

Aerial Photo of Space Taken by Balloon (Photo by K2CC’s Weather Balloon)


UKHAS 2012 Conference

UKHAS 2012 Conference

The UKHAS Conference will be on 22/09/12 starting at 1030 and will go on until 1800, the morning will be various talks followed by lunch (included in the ticket price) and then the afternoon will be a mixture of workshops, talks, discussions and various other features. Afterwards will be some sort of pub trip (it will happen this time!).


  • James Coxon – Pico Balloons One Year On
  • Mark Jessop – 2 way comms using RFM22b
  • Ed Moore – Rockets etc
  • Adam Greig and Daniel Richman – New Stuff with Habitat
  • Phil Heron and Dave Akerman – SSDV and other imaging techniques /      SSDV on the Raspberry Pi
  • John Graham-Cumming “Software can be the weakest link”


  • Beginners Arduino
  • SMD soldering (theory, H+S doesn’t allow us to actually do it!)
  • UKHAS issues
  • Bioprospecting part 2

For more information go to