A long, long time ago, in 1932 to be exact, a tradition began. A simple searchlight atop the Empire State Building announced the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as President.
If you watched last night’s election results (or were conveniently somewhere in NYC) you probably saw that iconic building at it again. Last night’s exhibition marked the Empire State Building’s first use of its new custom LED panel technology.
CNN joined forces with the building to project a running tally atop the spire, presenting real-time election results with a brilliant display of colored light. The lights were visible from miles around, and broadcast worldwide to CNN’s viewers.
In case you didn’t see it last night, the lights worked like this: The four sided tower atop the building was lit in patriotic red, white, and blue stripes. The mast functioned as a meter with two blue sides, and two red to represent President Obama and Gov. Romney’s respective electoral votes. As each state was projected by CNN, and electoral votes were allocated to each candidate, the meter displayed a running tally.
When CNN projected the President’s reelection, the building’s lights changed to all blue.
Since LEDs are electronic devices as well as lights, it’s a fairly simple process to program and control them remotely from a computer. This is why CNN could display the election results so quickly.
Check out this video to see it in action:
You can read more about last night’s exciting new lights on CNN.com.