Broncomatic Experimentalism

We set up the Broncomatic in the Exchange Building at the University of Nottingham Jubilee Campus.

The Exchange Building foyer is an area where people come to have lunch, go to cash machines and go to the student union shop. Even towards the end of term, when university is pretty quiet, you can rely on a few passers by.

We created a Broncomatic program which very directly translated breathing, with breathing in turning the bronco one direction, breathing out turning it the other, and the speed of turn modulated by the speed at which you breathe in or out. This means you can hold your breath and the bronco will remain pretty still.

To be able to control the length of time people were on the ride, we set 3 progressively harder levels. In level 1, the ride spins slowly, which makes it very easy for most people to stay on and get used to their breathing controlling the ride. At level 2, the ride speeds up its spinning, which is a bit more challenging. On level 3, the ride also starts bucking up and down, and the spinning gets really fast – essentially all hell breaks loose at this point.

Rider falling off the Broncomatic

We deliberately kept this first public outing of the Broncomatic low key, with no publicity or promotion, riders were just passers by, who came over and asked us for a ride. Even so, 22 people had a ride on the Bronco, and we filmed 21 post-ride interviews, which has given us a load of interesting things to think about.

The little printer stickers with scores really seemed to make people happy – people were talking about the scores, and competing with each other.

Some finish line camera pictures from this event are on the broncomatic’s flickr page.