Assignment 10

An Automaton: Due Wednesday, November 14th

We know how to control actuators (servos and DC motors). Now let’s try to actuate something interesting, in an interesting way.

Working in (optional) two-person teams, make an automaton / kinetic sculpture / mechanical thingy with the following characteristics:

  • It produces a complex and meaningful gesture or movement sequence;
  • It employs at least one laser-cut piece of your own design;
  • It integrates non-laser-cut elements. For example: try non-rigid, non-structural materials (springs, jelly, feathers, balloons, leaves, taxidermy, doll parts, etc.).
  • It has an on-off switch or “GO” button which causes it to enact or start its movement sequence.

Don’t make it interactive or responsive to the environment; focus on the “actuation” and the design of an interesting gesture. The only ‘interactivity’ will be the on/off switch or the “start” pushbutton. Consider, though, some of the other kinds of things you can add to your project: sound from the piezo sound; the cellphone vibrator motor; LED lights…..

For advice on building automatons, please consult this wonderful out-of-print resource (PDF).

You are strongly encouraged to use the Automino kit for assembling the frame of your automaton. On Wednesday 11/7, you will be lasercutting these.

To submit and present your assignment, include the following:

  • An embedded YouTube video (no longer than two minutes) showing video documentation of your project. Show the project executing its motion design, and then give a technical talk-through of its physical design.
  • A text (200 words) describing your project, your design process, and any precursors which may have inspired.
  • Scans of sketches, if possible.
  • An arduino circuit design, rendered using Fritzing.
  • Arduino code, embedded into your blog post using the WP-Syntax plugin.
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