I was pitched this idea by another student who thought I might be up to it. I took the challenge and made a plan to make it happen. I used an Arduino Mega as the computer to control the two pyramid halves. Due to time constraints, I started writing the 1,400+ line program that would operate the pyramid before the pieces themselves even existed. Until they were built, I really couldn't test the program. Fortunately though, it had few glitches and I was able to get it working without much trouble.
The yellow, silver, and green lines represent the paths of the 16 planned rope lights that would be strung along the pyramids on either sides. Due to cost constraints, only the 12 yellow and silver rope lights were implemented.
A visual diagram representing the the signal flow from the Arduino to the rope lights. Each rope light would be assigned its own pin on the Arduino, which will connect to its respective relay on the pyramid end through a D-Sub cable.
Note that this diagram also illustrates a third top pyramid piece. This was also never implemented, probably due to cost constraints, though it may have been a decision. I can't actually remember.
Because the pyramid was used in two songs, there was a switch that would be flipped to determine which program the Arduino would use. Since I didn't have any sort of switch handy to use for this, I found a coffin lock, which we use to lock set pieces together, connected a pair of wires to it, and voilà. It worked wonderfully. It was actually kind of nice to require the key to switch between the songs. It prevented in accidental switching during movement of the pieces or from actors tripping over them in the cramped backstage conditions.
This code is a bit much. I'm going to spare us all the trouble of trying to explain it, but I'll provide it if anyone fancies glancing at it.
Here's a Google Doc. It's easier than trying to read it here.
Here's a short video documenting some of the details on the workings of the pyramids,
And, here are the results. This was probably one of my favorite effects to make so far. I think it turned out really well.