Adventures in Smartsurfaces

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Building the Frame! November 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — rachelboswell @ 12:02 am

Hours of measuring angles, cutting, and re-cutting:

Setting up welds (Lots of Welds!):


Current tasks: circuit board cutting, wire stripping, soldering, and, well, everything else.

12 days left!


Recent Developments November 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — rachelboswell @ 10:18 pm

The past couple weeks have brought us a looong way. Our emotionally responding robot now has a specific form, and its functions and abilities are becoming better defined.


We took cues from simple forms that still have character, such as Munny Dunny dolls, and tried to create silhouette that was unobtrusive and kind, like a penguin.

Jackass Penguinauster_august10_1024Penguins_huddling

Penguins also huddle for warmth, creating a naturally smart surface. This went along with one of our preliminary ideas that involved developing individually functional emotional mechanisms that could ‘herd’ into larger, also fully functional surfaces when needed.

As it turns out, penguins are already a popular source of inspiration for technology with a friendly feel.crane-adorable

Crowdsurfing was another ‘smart surface’ I looked at for inspiration. Another idea we threw around during initial brainstorming had to do with finger or arm-like devices that would caress and embrace users, crowdsurfing does essentially the same thing to the surfer.



Collapsable devices were also a source for inspiration because we were looking at ways to make an interactive form that could transform in more of a surface during periods of inactivity. Fireplace bellows and old camera lenses are some examples.


After lots of form evaluation and more discussion on the ‘why’ of our project and which ends were most important to cover for the final prototype, we created full size model out of foam, and a half size one out of plywood and mocked up some gear forms to start to visualize how this thing would move. Here is our plywood model so far:


We used piano hinges to hold everything together. No we have something to practice movement with, and we can further refine the form and proportions through SolidWorks.


Here it is with it’s fin, to further add to it’s character.


What follows is a refinement of our final budget, technical drawings and specifics for the form, building a frame with which to test the strength of motors and hinges, and most of all, troubleshooting! Only 36 days for all that AND fabrication of the final model and gallery installation. Anyone getting nervous?