Interactive Walls

Rate this Entry
Here's a relatively random thought that I've never seen suggested anywhere:
We all know about pressure mats. People step on them and a circuit is completed, causing an effect.

However, there is no reason these need to be limited to floors. A pressure mat applied to a wall could trigger a reaction when people touch the wall.

This could be especially useful in a "blackout" room where people will be groping their way through the room. Maybe touching the mat triggers lights to flash in their eyes, further blinding and disorienting them. Maybe a horn. Whatever you like.

It could also be useful in a room where there is a scare that often causes people to jump back and hit a wall. Traditional wisdom holds that in these spaces we should make the make the passage wider in that area to avoid patrons hitting the wall. It also recommends making sure those walls are sturdily reinforced. What if we reinforced the wall but did not make the passage wider? You could even pad the wall if you like, and put a pressure mat under it. Then they would get a startle, jump back, hit the wall, and get another one!

What if you took some bed sheets and soaked them in fiberglass resin? Could you not create a durable, translucent surface? Would that surface not be something you could mold and shape into, say, a cave? Lights behind that surface would shine through. Pressure mats applied behind the wall could trigger sounds or additional lighting effects. Might be worth looking into.

Something similar could be done with breakbeams. usually, these are used at ground level to trigger when someone walks past. However, there is no reason they could not be set up on a wall either vertically or horizontally so that anyone running their hands along the walls would trigger an effect.

A haunt designed to be touched would necessarily need to be build robustly, for sure. Wouldn't it be fun to build some of that into your, though? Put an interesting prop within apparently easy reach, but behind a lattice of breakbeams, so when curiosity wins and they try to touch it, an alarm or startle is triggered. They would already be a bit on edge for "breaking the rules", and I think the triggered effect would be that much more startling!

Actually, it occurs to me that you could turn your average PIR so it points up or down and trigger props with that as well. This might be especially useful in an alcove that restricts the PIR's field. Anyone reaching in would trigger your effect.

I know interactive walls are not a new concept, but I have not heard anyone suggest using these staples of the haunt industry in this way before. Of course, Disney's interactive wall tech may make all of this so simple and cheap, that there will be no need of these tricks at all.

That seems to be a ways off, though.

Meanwhile, here's to turning your triggers on their sides, and happy haunting!