Thousands to ‘visit’ computer tech’s home this holiday season12/07/2017
There’s no place like home for the holidays — especially a home like Tom Hammond’s. Last year, his home received tens of thousands of “visitors” during the holidays, all eager to take a turn lighting his house in Chippewa Township, near Doylestown. Those visitors hailed from approximately 95 countries, ranging from Belarus to Bangladesh and Chile to the Czech Republic.
Hammond, a computer technician at The University of Akron Wayne College, is again allowing the world to remotely control his holiday lights display through a website of his own design.
The holiday decorations have been expanded to include floodlights, bouncing arches and a “cause ribbon,” which has a light grid to display messages and the appropriate color to cheer on various causes.
Online visitors also have access to more than 20 animation settings, including candy cane, snow, and twinkle, which can be viewed on Hammond’s website via a live video stream. In addition, the system now supports a virtually unlimited number of viewers simultaneously, eliminating the occasional busy screens caused by the crush of online visitors last holiday season.
The innovative display can once again be controlled from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
“It was such a blast last year I couldn't wait to start on this year’s display,” says Hammond. “It has been a challenge, but it is great to see how this technology can bring people together to share in simple joys, especially around the holidays.”
He has enjoyed the project so much, Hammond is now working to make interactive displays more accessible by adding an update to his iTwinkle.org website. Along with access to the controls for this year’s holiday lights, visitors will find instructions on how to create similar displays at their own homes.
Visitors can control Hammond’s light show every night from 5 p.m. to midnight, until Jan. 7.
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