My initial idea was to create my take on a perpetual motion device; a perpetually eating squirrel…I was drawn to the idea of mechanics and creating a movement with a motor other than the standard circular motion or even the back forth motion of a piston… I wanted to create an articulated movement.
With obviously no experience in engineering or mechanics I set out to make this thing… But I soon figured that the tiny eating motion would be too small. So I went on a tangent and decided to create a tail that could flick like a squirrel tail.
The premise would be to turn a section of rubber tubing into an articulated tail that would bend when a string fixed to one end was pulled down. This was based on the idea of a muscle pulling on bones to create motion.
By fixing this string to a freely turning spool that I MacGyvered with a piece of drinking straw over a piece of wire, the string would not get tangled when the motor would turn around. And by placing the motor perpendicularly, this would have created the pulling motion necessary for the articulated tail to move.
The tail and motor would have been fixed to a based to provide stability and to allow for the torque of the motor to pull the string.
Unfortunately the motor was not powerful enough to actually pull the string. When tension was put on the string, the motor would stop altogether. In theory, I think this would have worked if I had used a stronger motor.
An interactive-art game that tests your memory-cognitive skills while displaying an arbitrary and beautiful colour sequence that anyone can watch. Think Fast! allows your brain to process and relay information faster, which in turn trains your reflexes to act faster. Start with a flash card displaying a sequence of colours. As fast as possible, recreate the sequence shown on the card on the gameboard by pressing the momentary buttons to the colours you think these buttons represent. Get it wrong and you have to start over again up to three times. Anyone can play at any level they wish – from easy to expert and in between, with gradual variance in difficulty in each level. You can set up a timer and beat your old records. Or challenge others. Or simply play to pass the time. While this is all happening, your friends and other people can sit back and watch the “show” on the other side of the game. The colours that light up from the pressed buttons represent a visual interpretation (through LED lights) of your brain translating from visual to electrical impulses. As you watch the show, you are watching how your friends’ brains work visually. Think Fast! is a creative way of incorporating an interactive learning game with arbitrary sequenced art.
For more details on how I conceived this project from start to finish, including progress photos and the video, go here (my webspace).
Due to limited knowledge, I have decided to stay simple with design but go enormously complex with my concept, taking the risk of going more ‘learning’ than ‘aesthetics’. As babies, we all went through an audiology test to check our hearing once (although for me, it is every few years). The test I had to undergo involved being completely deaf in a soundproof booth with headphones and a trigger button with lights and toys surrounding me to distract me from seeing the audiologist pressing the buttons to make sounds. Despite not being a child anymore, the lights were a visual cue of a sound, much like learning from operant conditioning, I was ‘conditioned’ to associate a light with a sound, and I still do today.
Following this concept, I will be focusing on creating a ‘visual test’ to test one’s interaction in operant conditioning with memory-cognitive skills using sight and touch, trial and error skills and reasoning skills. There will be cue cards with a sequence of colours on one side, all varying in levels of difficulty. The test, with two people, is much like a game, is this: to correctly press the right sequence matching the one on the present cue card in the fastest time. The circuit system (includes 3 AA batteries, 3 resistors, a main power switch and breadboard) will be set up as so: three LEDs in a row, in different colours, all connected to three momentary buttons. There will be a cardboard/cover in between the buttons and the LEDs so the player cannot see the pathways between the buttons and the LEDs, so assuming or trying to cheat the system, much like how audiologists prevent this with toys and lights, cannot be possible. There will be a translucent paper behind the LEDs which should reflect a small coloured glow, giving the player somewhat of a visual clue. Visually, the viewer behind the buttons cannot also see which buttons activate the particular coloured light (and so this game can be played by both the tester and participant). Also, the lights seen by the viewer/audience shows how our mind works and processes patterns and repetition much like reading words or binary code, in the form of “abstract LED art”. This will require much trial and error on my part to ensure it cannot be easy or too difficult to use.
This relates to how technology is refining our memory-cognitive skills without us even realizing it. Video games, cellphones and keyboards have changed the way our mind signals our fingers to perform a specific action like typing an essay or pressing left and square on a console controller to switch weapons and fire a gun in a video game. Hopefully this interactive electronics project helps others to understand that without sight (seeing our action being performed), we are forced to pay more attention to verbal cues from the tester/viewer and our fingers performing the action. We take sight for granted much like I take my hearing for granted and I hope this will help others connect more to disabled people on a personal level.
My rudimentary bird’s eye view sketch. Not including other components of circuit described above.