Thursday, March 29, 2007

Round 2

Here is the latest functioning prototype, I have a pair working, and am in the process of refining them. They are responding really well, but can use a few tweaks. One thing that's a problem is that the cable jumps out of the track, which prevents it from being pushed out or pulled in. The cable has become fatigued from repeatedly jumping the track while the wheel continues to revolve, resulting in a kink in the cable. This kink causes the problem to occur more often. The other modifications I want to make will allow me to assemble the modules more easily, and to remove the wheel from the bottom.

Video of it in action:

Large format 16.5MB

Medium format 6.5MB

Small format 2MB


Here are some photos of the first round of prototypes. The most promising is on top.

It will have to wait

I was planning on redoing my website and posting my thesis project there, but I recently have come to the realization that with everything I'm working on, the official site will have to wait.

In the meantime, I'll post here.

As an introduction, here's the abstract from my thesis:

Cousteau is a kinetic interactive sculpture, a meditation on the intersection of Nature and Technology. The sculpture’s form is inspired by aquatic life and movements: sea grass swaying in the ocean, the undulating motion of currents, and the hide-and-seek of some sea creatures. The project grew out of my interests in oceanography and design, and the way that we as humans anthropomorphize in order to relate to technology. Cousteau synthesizes these ideas by using simple movements to suggest that technology might possess its own life force; through an array of sensors, the sculpture monitors its surroundings, reacting to ambient activity, and a user’s proximity.

The project is a collection of modules, where each unit acts independently yet still communicates with others. Each module consists of an array of “eels” which grow upward from the base, creating a dynamic field. The “eels” bob back and forth as well as up and down depending on the inputs received from the sensors. For instance, if a user startles Cousteau, the “eels” will seek safety by retracting into the base. Alternatively, if a user waves his hand over a portion of Cousteau, the “eels” may emerge to investigate. Stimulating one module might provoke a neighboring or a remote one to react as well, as if seeking attention or expressing neglect. Cousteau’s animation is contingent upon multiple factors such as noise levels, distance readings and especially frequency of stimuli. Using multiple inputs this way will keep the interaction interesting and ever-evolving, adding a higher degree of unique experiences.