Software Development
Arts / Hardware

A ‘space ship’ called ICARUS is being built in Kensington

After a successful crowdfunding campaign, the roving entertainment machine is heading to Burning Man later this month.

It’s an old Air Force cargo loader that lifts 50 willing passengers 13 feet into the air. It operates on Raspberry Pi and boasts a 15K-watt IMAX theater, a DJ booth and flamethrowers.

It’s modern art. It’s weird. It’s ICARUS.

The brainchild of Brandon Robinson, Ilya Polyakov and Philly natives Ben LaRue and “EZ,” ICARUS is a roving entertainment machine that, thanks to a stampede of Kickstarter support, will be making its debut at Burning Man in Nevada this summer.

ICARUS board members describe the project as an “interactive and fully mobile experience where participants can, for a moment, find themselves in an alternate reality.”

Those who dare, will be able to board ICARUS and enjoy music and visuals while moving through the air. According to the crew, it’s not the first of its kind. It is, however, possibly the largest of its kind — and definitely the largest to come from the East Coast.

“The pieces we’re building right now are all modular and pack onto the vehicle,” said LaRue. That means the crew will be rebuilding the structure and its décor when it ships to Nevada later this month.

A rendering of ICARUS.

Operating out of a coworking studio on Lehigh and Frankford Avenues, the crew credits ICARUS with allowing them the opportunity to work closely with the community. LaRue says Philadelphia was the obvious choice for building and storing ICARUS because the city offers space and a surge of capable volunteers.

While ICARUS was built in Philadelphia, it has been a cross-country effort. Logistics, fundraising and brand awareness are being handled in Brooklyn. The main ship design was engineered by Polyakov in San Francisco.

To stay up-to-date with ICARUS and its journey west, you can sign up for the project’s newsletter here.

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